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From 1 January 2016, a land tax surcharge applies to Victorian land owned by an absentee owner, which includes an absentee corporation and the trustee of an absentee trust. If you are an absentee corporation or the trustee of an absentee trust, you must pay the surcharge on the taxable land you own unless you have been granted an exemption. 

The exemption applies from 1 January 2016 for an absentee corporation and from 1 January 2018 for an absentee trust.

The exemption is intended to apply to absentee corporations and absentee trusts that:

  • Are Australian-based.
  • Conduct a commercial operation in Victoria and whose commercial activities make a significant contribution to the Victorian economy and community by engaging local labour and using local materials and services.
  • Exhibit good corporate behaviour.

The Commissioner, under delegation from the Treasurer, may exercise his discretion to grant an exemption from the absentee owner surcharge. Before you apply for an exemption, refer to the relevant Treasurer’s guidelines to determine your eligibility: 

1

Prepare your application

Your written application should address each of the principles outlined in the relevant Treasurer's guidelines. Your application and supporting documents should include:

  • The specific land tax year for which you are seeking the exemption.
  • Details of the absentee owner:
    • Your customer number, which is on the front of your land tax assessment.
    • A statement on the business activities of the corporation or trust and how those activities significantly contribute to the Victorian economy and community.
    • The extent to which the corporation or trust uses Victorian labour and materials.
    • Documents detailing the ownership structure of the corporation or trust such as:
      • Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) documents showing the shareholders of the corporation or other documents detailing the ownership structure for the corporation, or
      • Registry of beneficiaries or other documents detailing the identity of the beneficiaries and their entitlement to the assets of the trust.
    • Documents evidencing any prior Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) approvals. 
    • Information relating to the corporation or trust's Victorian turnover or other management records showing the extent of the Victorian business undertaken by the corporation or trust for the three prior years.
    • Evidence of the person(s) ultimately in control of the decision making and the degree of their control over the company or details regarding the person(s) influence in the administration and conduct of the trust.
  • Details of the absentee person who:
    • Holds the controlling interest in the corporation, or is the absentee beneficiary who:
      • holds a beneficial interest in land subject to a fixed trust,
      • holds a unitholding in a unit trust scheme, or
      • is a specified beneficiary of a discretionary trust.
    • A structure diagram illustrating the links from the absentee person through to the owner of the land. For every entity in the structure diagram, please provide:
      • legal name (or name of the trust and trustee),
      • ACN (if applicable),
      • place of incorporation (if applicable),
      • percentage of shares/entitlement between the relevant entities.
  • Any other information or documents supporting your statements in reference to the relevant Treasurer's guidelines.
2

Gather supporting documents

When lodging your written application, you must provide copies of any relevant supporting documents.

3

Lodge your application

Email

Email your application, including any attachments, to technicaladvice@sro.vic.gov.au.

Mail

Mail your application to:

Technical Advice and Review Branch
State Revenue Office
GPO Box 1641
Melbourne VIC 3001

or

Technical Advice and Review Branch
State Revenue Office
DX 260090
Melbourne

Next steps

We will consider your application and contact you if we require more information. We advise you in writing of your application's outcome.