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Special land tax was a one-off tax charged in certain circumstances where land that has been exempt from land tax was no longer exempt.

From 16 December 2020, special land tax no longer applies.

If previously exempt land ceased to be exempt on or after 16 December 2020, the owner is not liable for the one-off tax payment.

Special land tax is different from BTR special land tax, which relates to the build-to-rent land tax concession and absentee owner land tax exemption.  BTR special land tax can apply after 16 December 2020.

When did it apply?

If certain land lost its exempt status before 16 December 2020, special land tax applied. The liability arose when the relevant exemption ceased to apply to the land. These exemptions included:

  • sporting, recreational or cultural land
  • rooming houses
  • residential care facilities and supported residential services
  • residential services for people with disabilities
  • caravan parks
  • land owned by a public statutory authority
  • land used as a mine.

Note: Special land tax did not apply if land ceased to be exempt land only because it was compulsorily acquired.

The date special land tax was payable was set out in the notice of assessment. 

What was the rate?

It was charged at a rate of 5% of the taxable value of the land and was imposed on the date the land ceased to be exempt. If you were an absentee owner, you were charged a rate of:

  • 5.5% if the land ceased to be exempt in 2016
  • 6.5% if the land ceased to be exempt from 2017
  • 7.0% if the land ceased to be exempt up until December 2020.

Who was liable?

Where one of the exemptions listed above was lost immediately or within 60 days of a change of ownership, the person who owned the land immediately prior to the change of ownership was liable to be assessed for special land tax. In these circumstances, the person liable was generally unable to defer payment.

If there was no change of ownership, the person who owned the land immediately after the exemption ceased to apply was liable. That person could elect to defer payment for 3 years, or until such time as there was a change in ownership of any part of the land, whichever was sooner.

Last modified: 21 December 2023
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