META news: Victorian State Budget and impact on expatriate employees

Mobility & Employment Tax Advisory (META) news shares the proposed amendments impacting expatriate employees as a result of the State Budget announcement.


The proposed amendments will reduce the attractiveness for foreign investment into Victoria.

Some property owners will be adversely impacted as absentee landowners if living overseas.

The Victorian Treasurer handed down the Victorian State Budget for 2015/16 on 5 May 2015.

It contained the following revenue measures:

  • Land transfer duty surcharge.
    • Foreign buyers of residential property will pay a surcharge of 3% on the greater of the purchase price or the market value of the property, in addition to any other stamp duty payable.
    • The surcharge will apply to contracts entered into on or after 1 July 2015 and payable at settlement.

    • Likely to impact off-the-plan purchases in particular.

  • Absentee landowner surcharge. 
    • A landowner who does not ordinarily reside in Australia will be liable for an absentee landowner surcharge of 0.5% in addition to any other land tax payable. 

    • The absentee landowner surcharge will apply from the 2016 land tax year.

Although not yet law, the legislation was introduced into the Victorian Parliament on 8 May 2015.

The proposed amendments will adversely impact temporary visa holders who buy property in Victoria. It does not impact on property purchased or owned in other Australian states or territories.

Critically, the absentee landowner provisions excludes an Australian citizen or resident but specifically includes a natural person who does not ordinarily reside in Australia and who—

  • was absent from Australia on 31 December of the year prior to the tax year; or
  • was absent from Australia for a period of 6 months in total in the year prior to the tax year.

This means that individuals living overseas for a period of time may be caught by the absentee landowner surcharge.

Note also that the provisions extend to absentee corporations, trusts and beneficiaries; essentially where the person with a controlling interest or ultimate beneficiary of the property is an absentee.


Please contact us if you have any questions or want to discuss how we can provide an efficient and cost effective solution to your business.

If you would like to discuss this further, please contact Sam Morris.