Land tax is the first charge on the title to the land to which it relates and must be paid before ownership can change.
If you are buying or selling or are the mortgagee of a property, you can apply for a property clearance certificate (previously known as a land tax clearance certificate), which states whether any land tax is owed on a property.
The liability shown in a certificate is specific to the year in which you applied but will, if applicable, include any outstanding liabilities from prior years. For example, property clearance certificates issued in 2021 will show liabilities for 2021 and any outstanding liabilities for prior years.
Buyers should be aware that if the seller has not paid the land tax owing, we seek payment from the buyer.
A purchaser must obtain their own certificate to be protected from the recovery of land tax and ensure that the amount stated on the certificate is paid to the State Revenue Office on, or shortly after, settlement. Using a vendor's certificate will not protect the purchaser.
Generally, you receive your certificate via email within one day, but it may take up to 10 business days.
If you applied for a property clearance certificate in 2021 for a property that will be settled or auctioned in 2022, the certificate will be issued after Tuesday 4 January 2022. This allows us to include any 2022 land tax liabilities.
All certificates are issued subject to a number of notes which you should read carefully.
Clearance certificate payment options
You can pay the amount of land tax shown as outstanding on a property clearance certificate by credit card, BPAY or via your electronic lodgement network operator (ELNO). Contact your ELNO for further instructions.
Gather required information
Before applying for a certificate, have all the details of the property, including address, volume and folio, ready.
If you are the purchaser, you will also need the vendor’s details.
Apply for a certificate
You can apply for a property clearance certificate online as either as a non-registered or registered user.
The application fee is $17.40 (from 1 July 2022 it will be $17.70).
A card payment fee of 0.45% applies to all credit card transactions.
Apply as a non-registered user
It's easy, fast and efficient, with secure credit card payment. You simply enter the requested details, pay and your certificate is emailed to you.
If you frequently apply for property clearance certificates, you can become a registered user. This enables you to quickly and easily manage multiple certificate applications and update requests, with secure encrypted payment available by Visa, MasterCard or monthly direct debit.
Apply as a registered user
Registered users who have authorised access can sign in to their property clearance certificates account and apply for a certificate.
Receive your certificate
Once your request has been processed, your certificate is emailed to you.
If we need to manually process your request it may take up to 10 working days to get your certificate.
Once you have your certificate, you can request a certificate update reflecting any changes since your certificate was issued. Your property clearance certificate update is free if you request it within 90 days of your initial certificate being issued.
If land tax is due but not paid on a property, the certificate will certify how much land tax is due and unpaid on the date of the application only. Please consider the following:
- A certificate does not relate to any future liability or the tax status of the land. 'Nil' on a certificate does not mean the land is exempt from land tax.
- If land tax is payable on a property but payment is not due at the time the application is processed, the certificate will certify how much should be retained by the buyer at settlement and paid to us. The certificate will only protect the buyer if the amount stated on the certificate is paid to us on, or shortly after, settlement.
- If the amount to be retained by the buyer is understated, we can seek to recover the correct amount (or the balance) from the vendor. We will seek to recover from the buyer if the vendor defaults and the certified amount has not been paid to us on, or shortly after, settlement.
- If a proposed sale is not completed, we will not be bound by the certified amount for a later sale of the land. Another certificate is required for that transaction.
- If an amount certified is excessively high, for example, because a principal place of residence exemption has not been applied, we issue an amended certificate at no extra cost after receiving sufficient evidence to that effect from the vendor and if settlement has not yet passed and the request is submitted within 90 days of the application being lodged.
- If no land tax is stated as being payable for the property, we are bound by that certification, in respect of the buyer if the land is subsequently found to be taxable and the vendor defaults.
- If the vendor refuses to be bound by an amount stated by us and does not agree to the amount being withheld and remitted at settlement, the buyer cannot rely on this refusal as a defence to an action by us to recover the outstanding amount of land tax from the buyer.
The information on a certificate does not preclude us from taking action against a vendor to recover outstanding land tax.
Please also carefully read our property clearance certificates.