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The Victorian Government has announced a range of tax measures, related to land tax, payroll tax and liquor licence fees, to support businesses through Victoria’s State of Emergency, as part of a broader economic survival package to support business and jobs in response to coronavirus (COVID-19).

We will regularly update this page with new questions and answers, so check back to stay up to date.

Land tax

Two relief measures have been announced by the Victorian Government:

  1. Land tax deferral - announced on 21 March 2020.
  2. Land tax reduction (25%) 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.

Am I eligible for land tax relief due to coronavirus?

1. Land tax deferral

Who is eligible for a deferral?

Land owners that own at least one taxable non-residential property and total taxable landholdings below $1 million are not required to pay their 2020 land tax assessment until 31 March 2021.

Non-residential property includes commercial property, industrial property, and vacant land (excluding vacant residential land).

How do I know if I am eligible?

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.

How long is the deferral of payment?

The deferral is until 31 March 2021, which means you still have to pay your assessment but you have more time to do so, i.e. on or before 31 March 2021. 

What if I have already paid my 2020 land tax?

You can request a return of the tax you have already paid. The tax will need to be paid in full on or before 31 March 2021.
We will contact all eligible land owners and provide further information, including how to request the return of your payment. You do not need to do anything at this stage and do not need to apply to get this deferral.

Does this measure apply to residential properties?

The measure applies to land owners that own at least one non-residential property and have total taxable landholdings below $1 million. Eligible land owners can defer their entire assessment, which may include residential land.

How do I find my total taxable landholding?

Your property information, including your total taxable landholding, is available in My Land Tax, an online application that enables you to manage your land tax information quickly and easily. Register for My Land Tax now.

2. Land tax reduction (25%) for land subject to commercial and residential leases

Commercial landlords

Who is a commercial landlord?

You are a commercial landlord for the purposes of land tax relief if you rent your property under a commercial lease to a tenant conducting a business (even if the property is a residential property). To be eligible for relief, a commercial lease must be an eligible lease for the purposes of the commercial tenancy relief scheme. However, land tax relief does not apply to commercial leases relating to farmland, or to landlords that are government entities.

As a commercial landlord, am I eligible for the tax relief?

If you are a commercial landlord (i.e. your property is under a commercial lease where the tenant conducts a business) and meet the eligibility criteria for tax relief, you can apply for a 25% reduction on the land tax (exclusive of any absentee owner surcharge) for that property, and choose to defer the balance of your assessment until up to 31 March 2021.

To be eligible for tax relief for a tenanted property, you must demonstrate that:

  • Your property has been rented since before 29 March 2020.
  • You have provided rent relief to your tenants in accordance with this relief measure because they have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

If your commercial tenant asks you for rent relief under the commercial tenancy relief scheme, your tenant is required to declare to you that they meet the conditions in either of these two categories:

  1. 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.
  2. For other commercial tenants:

Aggregated turnover is your tenant’s turnover, in addition to any entity connected or affiliated with your tenant, within the meaning of section 328-125 and section 328-130 respectively of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 of the Commonwealth. Turnover includes the proceeds of sales of goods and/or services, commission income, repair and service income, rent, leasing and hiring income, government bounties and subsidies, interest, royalties and dividends, and other operating income.

Your tenant can make their declaration using our SmartForm, which they can then send to you by email. You must include your tenant’s declaration with your application.

In accordance with the commercial tenancy relief scheme, if your tenant is contractually obligated to pay the land tax on the land, you are required to pass on to the tenant the tenant’s proportionate share of the reduction in land tax

To be eligible for tax relief for an untenanted property, you must demonstrate that:

  • Your property was tenanted in March 2020 under an eligible lease, or was the subject of an executed eligible lease in March 2020, that the tenant did not fulfil.
  • Your property was subsequently vacant for a continuous period of three months because of the coronavirus pandemic.
As a commercial landlord, what rent relief do I need to provide to be eligible for the 25% land tax reduction?

The rent relief you provide must be consistent with the principles of the Support to Landlords and Tenants package announced on 15 April 2020. This includes taking into consideration the reduction in turnover of the tenant as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. More information on these principles for commercial leases is available on the Small Business Commissioner website.

In addition, the rent reduction provided between 29 March 2020 and 29 September 2020 must be at least the amount of the 25% reduction in the 2020 land tax liability for that property. If a landlord provides rent relief to a tenant that comprises a deferral of rent but not a reduction of rent, the landlord is not eligible for land tax relief. The only exceptions to this are where:

  • land tax is an outgoing which is the contractual responsibility of the tenant (in which case the land tax discount must be passed on to the tenant), or
  • the rent relief is the outcome of an approved mediation process.
As a commercial landlord, I have multiple tenancies on my property. What rent relief do I need to provide to be eligible for the 25% land tax reduction?

If your property has multiple tenancies and each tenancy is separately valued for land tax (and is therefore separately specified in your land tax assessment), we will assess eligibility in respect of each tenancy as if it were a separate property and  will apply relief in respect of each eligible tenancy as if it were a separate property.

If your property has multiple tenancies and each tenancy is not separately valued for land tax (and therefore the tenancies are not separately specified in your land tax assessment), we will assess eligibility in respect of each tenancy, and we will apply relief in respect of the land tax that is reasonably apportioned to the eligible tenancies. The aggregate rent reduction must be at least the amount of the 25% reduction in the 2020 land tax that can be reasonably apportioned to the eligible tenancies plus the amount of the reduction in land tax passed on to tenants.

As a commercial landlord, my property is subject to a sub-lease arrangement. Am I eligible for the 25% land tax reduction?

Under a sub-lease arrangement, you lease your property to a lessee. This lease is known as the head lease, and the lessee is known as the head lessee. The head lessee then leases the property to a further lessee. This lease is known as a sub-lease, and the further lessee is known as the sub-lessee.

To be eligible for tax relief for a property which is subject to a sub-lease arrangement, you must demonstrate each of the following:

  • You have provided rent relief to the head lessee that meets the general requirements for land tax relief, as set out above.
  • The head lessee has provided rent relief to the sub-lessee that meets the general requirements for land tax relief, as set out above.
  • The sub-lessee has declared that they meet the conditions in either of the two categories as set out below. The sub-lessee can make their declaration using our SmartForm:
    • For sub-lessees 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 the 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 sub-lessees: 
      • 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.

Residential landlords

Who is a residential landlord?

You are a residential landlord for the purposes of land tax relief if you rent your property to a tenant under an eligible agreement for the purposes of the residential tenancies dispute resolution scheme.

Eligible agreements are tenancy agreements, special disability accommodation agreements and site agreements under the Residential Tenancies Act 1997. You are only eligible for land tax relief if you rent your property under one of these types of agreements. Most holiday accommodation, such as hotels, motels, and bed and breakfasts, as well as rooms in rooming houses, is not provided under any of these types of agreements.

As a residential landlord, am I eligible for the tax relief?

If you are a residential landlord and meet the eligibility criteria for tax relief, you can apply for a 25% reduction on the land tax (exclusive of any absentee owner surcharge) for that property, and choose to defer the balance of your 2020 land tax assessment until up to 31 March 2021.

To be eligible for tax relief for a tenanted property, you must demonstrate that:

  • Your property has been rented since before 29 March 2020.
  • You have provided rent relief to your tenants in accordance with this relief measure because at least one of the tenants has been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

To be eligible for tax relief for an untenanted property, you must demonstrate that your property:

  • Was tenanted under an eligible agreement in March 2020 or was the subject of an executed eligible agreement in March 2020 that the tenant did not fulfil.
  • Was subsequently vacant for a continuous period of three months because of the coronavirus pandemic.
As a residential landlord, how much rent relief do I need to provide to be eligible for the 25% land tax reduction?

The rent relief you provide must be consistent with the principles of the Support to Landlords and Tenants package announced on 15 April 2020. This includes taking into consideration the reduction in income of the tenant as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. More information on these principles for residential leases is available on the Consumer Affairs website.

The rent reduction, in dollar terms, provided between 29 March 2020 and 29 September 2020 must be at least 25% of the 2020 proportional land tax liability (exclusive of absentee owner surcharge) for that property. The proportional land tax figure for the property is reflected on your 2020 land tax assessment. If a landlord provides rent relief to a tenant that comprises a deferral of rent but not a reduction of rent, the landlord is not eligible for land tax relief. The only exception to this is where the rent relief is the outcome of an approved mediation process.

General

How do I apply for land tax relief as a landlord?

Eligible residential and commercial landlords can apply for the land tax reduction through My Land Tax.

Under this measure, can I still defer my 2020 land tax in full even if I don’t provide rent relief?

No. A landlord must provide a tenant impacted by the coronavirus pandemic with rent relief consistent with the principles of the Support to Landlords and Tenants package in order to be eligible for the land tax reduction and deferral.

What if I can't contact my tenant or they are not paying their rent?

If there are any issues with your tenant:

Once you have reached an agreement with the tenant about rent reduction, you can then apply for the land tax relief.

How long will the land tax relief scheme be in place?

The land tax relief scheme commenced on 29 March 2020 and will end on 29 September 2020.

I have chosen to use AutoPay Instalments to pay my 2020 land tax. What happens to my scheduled instalments if I apply for land tax relief as a landlord?

If you had set up AutoPay Instalments to pay your 2020 land tax, these direct debits will continue unless you log in to AutoPay and cancel them pending the outcome of your coronavirus land tax relief application.

To cancel your AutoPay Instalments, log in to AutoPay Instalments now. If you do nothing, your direct debits will continue as per the instalment schedule you originally established.

Am I eligible for land tax relief due to coronavirus?

Apply for coronavirus land tax relief

Payroll tax

Two relief measures have been announced by the Victorian Government:

  1. Payroll tax waived for eligible business - announced on 21 March 2020.
  2. Additional payments under the JobKeeper program are now exempt from payroll tax - announced on 5 May 2020.

1. Eligible businesses will have their payroll tax waived for the 2019-20 financial year

What are the eligibility criteria?

Businesses with annual Victorian taxable wages up to $3 million will have their payroll tax for the 2019-20 financial year waived.

What about the tax I have already paid for the 2019-20 financial year?

We will directly contact eligible businesses in relation to an emergency tax relief refund of payroll tax already paid in the financial year.

When will you start refunding businesses?

We will begin making emergency tax relief refunds from 27 March 2020.

Do I still need to lodge payroll tax returns?

Eligible businesses must continue to lodge returns but do not need to make further payments for this financial year.

Where can I get more information?

We will send eligible businesses more information about these relief measures.

Are there any measures to help me in the 2020-21 financial year?

Yes. Businesses with annual Victorian taxable wages up to $3 million can also defer, until January 2021, paying payroll tax for the first quarter of the 2020-21 financial year.

What if an employer is a member of a group?

The eligibility threshold applies to each employer, so any member of a group that pays Victorian taxable wages of less than $3 million per annum is eligible for the relief.

2. Additional payments under the JobKeeper program are now exempt from payroll tax

Am I eligible for this measure?

All businesses registered for payroll tax that make additional payments to employees as part of the JobKeeper program are eligible for this emergency relief measure.

How much of the wages I pay are exempt from payroll tax?

Any additional payments you make to bridge the gap between an employee’s normal wage and the $1500 per fortnight required to qualify for JobKeeper payments are exempt from payroll tax:

  • For employees who have come to an agreement with their employer to be stood down and not perform any work, the full $1500 paid to them is exempt from payroll tax.
  • For employees paid less than $1500 per fortnight, the payroll tax exemption applies to the difference between their wage and the $1500. For example, to qualify for a JobKeeper payment, an employer must pay an additional $500 to an employee who earns $1000 a fortnight. This additional payment of $500 is exempt from payroll tax.

Do I qualify for JobKeeper payments?

JobKeeper eligibility requirements are set by the Commonwealth Government and are available on the Australian Taxation Office website.

Do I need to apply for this relief?

Businesses do not need to apply for this emergency relief measure. In line with existing payroll tax arrangements, businesses are responsible for:

  • Calculating their payroll tax liability and treating the additional payments as exempt wages.
  • Lodging monthly returns and paying the relevant payroll tax.
  • Maintaining accurate records.
  • Providing evidence that the correct amount of tax was paid if requested by the State Revenue Office.

How do I claim an exemption for wages paid in April 2020?

Businesses that have already lodged their monthly returns for April 2020 and included additional payments in their estimated taxable wages can make adjustments as part of their payroll tax annual reconciliation in July 2020.

What happens with the additional payments and calculating WorkCover premiums?

The additional payments are not included in rateable remuneration for the purposes of calculating WorkCover Premiums. For more information, visit the Worksafe website.

Can you give me some examples in relation to JobKeeper payments?

Example 1 - I have an employee who has been stood down

Patrick has been stood down. Patrick’s employer receives the JobKeeper payment for him and must pay him $1500 per fortnight. To help make it easier for Patrick’s employer to keep him on, the entire $1500 per fortnight paid to Patrick is an additional payment and is exempt from payroll tax.

Example 2 - I have an employee who is ordinarily paid less than $1500 per fortnight

Olivia was working part time and earning $1000 per fortnight before the JobKeeper program was introduced. Olivia continues to work the same hours. Olivia’s employer now receives the JobKeeper payment for her and must pay her an additional $500 per fortnight – a total of $1500 per fortnight. To ensure her employer isn’t being asked to pay additional payroll tax, the additional payment of $500 is exempt from payroll tax. Olivia's normal fortnightly wage of $1000 is not exempt from payroll tax.

Example 3 - I have an employee who is ordinarily paid more than $1500 per fortnight but their pay has been reduced to less than $1500 per fortnight

Priya was earning $1800 per fortnight before the JobKeeper program was introduced. As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Priya’s hours have been reduced and her fortnightly wage is now $1 200 per fortnight. Priya’s employer receives the JobKeeper payment for her and must pay her an additional $300 per fortnight – a total of $1500 per fortnight. The additional payment of $300 is exempt from payroll tax. The remaining $1200 of Priya’s fortnightly wage is not exempt from payroll tax.

Example 4 - I have an employee who is currently paid more than $1500 per fortnight

Quinn currently earns $1 800 per fortnight. Consistent with the health restrictions, he continues to work and is paid his normal wage. He also takes a week of paid annual leave at his normal wage. Quinn’s employer qualifies for the JobKeeper program and receives the JobKeeper payment for him. No part of Quinn’s wage is exempt from payroll tax.

Example 5 - I have an employee who is not an eligible employee under the JobKeeper program

Rachel is a casual worker who has been working for her current employer for three months and earns $800 per fortnight. Rachel’s employer is not eligible to receive the JobKeeper payment for her. No part of Rachel’s wage is exempt from payroll tax.

Liquor licence fee relief

2020 renewable liquor licence fees waived

What if I have already paid my licence fee?

We will reimburse you regardless of whether you have paid your licence fee to us or the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation.

What if I haven’t paid my fee yet?

Your 2020 renewable liquor licence fee will be waived.

Where can I get more information?

You can contact the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation.

Last modified: 12 August 2020
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