ExpatBriefing: Australia Cracks Down On Illegal Foreign Property Investment

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By Fiona Moore, for Expatbriefing.com 04 January, 2019

In December, the Australian Government announced that it had forced the sale of more than 300 properties illegally acquired by foreign nationals.

Under the Government's enhanced penalties regime, the ATO can issue penalty notices to people who have failed to obtain Foreign Investment Review Board approval before buying property or for breaching a condition of a previously approved application.

In 2015, the Government gave the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) responsibility for real estate compliance. Up to October 31, 2018, 316 properties across the country had been sold following enforcement action taken against foreign nationals by the ATO.

In 2017-18, there was a record number of properties sold, both in terms of quantity and value, with 131 properties sold, worth AUD133.9m (USD96.3m). In 2016-17, 96 properties valued at ADU96.8m were sold, and in 2015-16, 54 properties were sold, valued at AUD61.5m. The majority of forced sales were in Victoria.

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