Buying or Selling A House?
You may be affected by the new GST Withholding Regime.


If you are planning to buy or sell residential property after 1 July 2018 then you should be aware of some recent changes to the way in which the Australian Taxation Office collects GST from property transactions.

The Changes

 Under the new legislation, purchasers of ‘new residential premises’ or ‘new residential subdivisions’ must remit the GST component of their purchase transaction directly to the Australian Taxation Office at the time of settlement.

Although the sellers of the relevant property still remain liable for payment of the GST, any buyer who fails to withhold the applicable GST amount (and pay same to the ATO at settlement) will have committed an offence.

Sellers must also be vigilant, as they are now required to provide buyers with a ‘Notice to Withhold’ at least 14 days prior to settlement. This ‘Notice to Withhold’ must include certain information, such as the GST amount and payment date, and a failure to provide an appropriate notice is an offence under the legislation.

The Property

The regime defines ‘new’ residential property as being premises which have not previously been sold as residential premises, and is therefore capable of applying to buildings which might not otherwise be thought of as ‘new’.

For example, Mr and Mrs Jones are selling their family home which they built in 2000 (i.e. they did not purchase the property). The Jones’s have lived in the house for the past 18 years, and have not rented it to anyone else during that time. Accordingly, the Jones’ property will meet the legal definition of ‘new residential premises’ and will be subject to the new GST regime, despite being 18 years old.

There are numerous other types of property transactions which may be captured under the new GST withholding regime, including the sale of vacant land and off-the-plan developments.

If you are a developer, buyer or seller of residential property, we recommend you contact our Commercial & Property Law team to discuss your potential obligations under the new GST withholding regime.

Please do not hesitate to contact our office on (07) 4963 2000 or via the contact form below should you have any queries.

Rebecca Rutland
Business & Property

Wallace & Wallace Lawyers
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