The Victorian Government has announced a range of tax relief measures - land tax relief, payroll tax relief, liquor licence fee relief and motor vehicle duty relief - in response to coronavirus (COVID-19). The Treasurer has directed the Commissioner of State Revenue to give effect to these measures.
The Australian Government has also announced a range of measures, including the HomeBuilder program.
In addition to these measures, the State Revenue Office is assisting people impacted by the pandemic by remitting penalties and interest charged on some assessments and providing interest-free instalment plans.
This page will be regularly updated with new information as it comes to hand. Please bookmark this page for your reference.
Two relief measures have been announced by the Victorian Government:
- Land tax deferral - announced on 21 March 2020.
- Land tax reduction (25%) (exclusive of any absentee owner surcharge) for land subject to commercial and residential leases - announced on 15 April 2020 - as well as an extension of the measure to landlords of licensed pubs, clubs and restaurants.
1. Land tax deferral
This measure was announced on 21 March 2020.
Land owners due to pay 2020 land tax that own at least one non-residential property and have total taxable landholdings below $1 million are not required to pay their 2020 land tax assessment until 31 March 2021.
If you are eligible, we will notify you that your 2020 land tax assessment has been deferred for payment until, or before, 31 March 2021. You do not need to apply to get this deferral.
This measure means you still have to pay your assessment, but you have more time to do so.
If you also want to apply for the 25% land tax reduction, check the eligibility criteria below. You do need to apply for the 25% land tax reduction.
2. Land tax reduction (25%) for land subject to commercial and residential leases
This further measure - the Support to Landlords and Tenants package - was announced on 15 April 2020.
Landlords and tenants are encouraged to work together to provide tenants impacted by the coronavirus pandemic with rent relief consistent with the principles of that package. This includes taking into account the reduction in the income or turnover of the tenant as a result of coronavirus.
More information on the principles of the Support to Landlords and Tenants package for residential leases is available on the Consumer Affairs website and for commercial leases on the Small Business Commissioner website.
Commercial and residential landlords who provide tenants impacted by coronavirus with rent relief consistent with the principles of the Support to Landlords and Tenants package, or who are unable to secure a tenant because of coronavirus, may be eligible for a 25% reduction on the property’s 2020 land tax (exclusive of any absentee owner surcharge).
These landlords can defer payment of the remainder of their 2020 land tax assessment until, or before, 31 March 2021. They can also have any amounts already paid in respect of their 2020 land tax liability returned but they must pay their 2020 land tax liability (as reduced in accordance with this relief) by 31 March 2021.
To be eligible, commercial landlords must also provide a declaration from their tenant that the tenant meets the conditions in either of these two categories:
- For commercial tenants operating a licensed pub, club or restaurant under a general, full club or on-premises liquor licence:
- at the premises level, their turnover was no greater than $50 million in the 2018-19 financial year, or their expected turnover in 2019-20 financial year is less than $50 million, and
- their turnover at that premises has reduced by at least 30% since March 2020.
- For other commercial tenants:
- they have an annual aggregated turnover of up to $50 million, and
- they are eligible for, and participating in, the Australian Government’s JobKeeper Payment.
We will not provide land tax relief if we determine that the rent relief provided by a landlord to a tenant is not genuine and is not consistent with the principles of the Support to Landlords and Tenants package.
Eligible residential and commercial landlords can apply for the land tax reduction through My Land Tax.
Three relief measures have been announced by the Victorian Government:
- Payroll tax waived for eligible business - announced on 21 March 2020.
- Additional payments under the JobKeeper program are now exempt from payroll tax - announced on 5 May 2020.
- Extended and expanded payroll tax relief deferral - announced on 10 July 2020.
1. Payroll tax waived for eligible businesses
This measure was announced on 21 March 2020.
Businesses with annual Victorian taxable wages up to $3 million will have their payroll tax for the 2019-20 financial year waived.
Eligible businesses must continue to lodge returns but do not need to make further payments for this financial year.
The State Revenue Office will directly contact eligible businesses in relation to an emergency tax relief refund of payroll tax already paid in the financial year.
These businesses can also defer paying payroll tax for the first quarter of the 2020-21 financial year.
More information about the administration of these relief measures will be sent directly to eligible businesses.
2. Additional payments under the JobKeeper program are now exempt from payroll tax
This further measure was announced on 5 May 2020.
To qualify for the Australian Government’s JobKeeper payments, employers must pay a minimum of $1500 a fortnight to eligible employees.
Any additional payments made to bridge the gap between an employee’s wage and the $1500 a fortnight required for the JobKeeper program are now exempt from payroll tax.
Any employer who has claimed this relief is still obliged to lodge payroll tax returns with the Commissioner, keep proper records and produce such records to the Commissioner is the Commissioner requires their production.
3. Extended and expanded payroll tax relief deferral
This further measure was announced on 10 July 2020.
An employer whose Victorian taxable wages for the 2019-20 financial year did not exceed $10 million has the option to:
- defer payment of their payroll tax liability for the months of July 2020, August 2020 and September 2020 until 14 January 2021, and
- defer payment of their payroll tax liability for the months of October 2020, November 2020 and December 2020 until 7 March 2021.
This measure applies to any member of a payroll tax group whose Victorian taxable wages for the 2019-20 financial year did not exceed $10 million - that is, membership of the group is not considered in determining whether or not the member’s Victorian taxable wages for the 2019-20 financial year exceeded that threshold.
To be eligible for this extended and expanded deferral measure, an employer must lodge:
- their 2019-20 annual reconciliation return, and
- their monthly payroll tax returns for the months of July 2020 through to December 2020.
This measure was announced on 21 March 2020.
Businesses that have paid for a renewable liquor licence for 2020 will be reimbursed their licence fee and those yet to pay will have the fee waived.
The State Revenue Office will administer the reimbursement, regardless of whether the licence fee was paid to it or the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation.
This administrative change by the Commissioner of State Revenue was announced on 22 May 2020.
The Commissioner has temporarily adjusted the length of ownership rule associated with exemptions from motor vehicle duty available for licensed motor car traders for their demonstrator or service demonstrator vehicles.
Victorian Government further assistance
For more information about the Victorian Government's Working for Victoria initiative, visit vic.gov.au/workingforvictoria.
Australian Government’s HomeBuilder Grant
In June 2020, as part of its economic response to coronavirus, the Australian Government announced its HomeBuilder program. This program provides eligible owner-occupiers (including first home buyers) with a grant of $25,000 to build a new home or substantially renovate an existing home.
The Australian Government has provided information on the program, including:
- A fact sheet that includes eligibility criteria, timelines and case study examples.
- Answers to frequently asked questions.
They are updating this information on the HomeBuilder webpage on a regular basis.
We have also published comprehensive HomeBuilder Guidelines detailing eligibility criteria and the evidence you will need to support your application. In conjunction with a number of other states and territories, we are currently developing an online portal that will allow you to lodge an application for the HomeBuilder Grant.
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