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  • Terms we use

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    Residential premises

    At its simplest, residential premises are premises containing basic living facilities that are fit for human occupation as residential accommodation.

    The sale or long term lease of residential premises is input taxed, except for two specific classifications of residential premises

    • new residential premises – for example, houses, apartments and villas
    • commercial residential premises – for example, hotels, motels and hostels.

    If residential premises are input taxed it means that you don't charge GST if you sell it, and you can't claim back GST if you buy it, even if registered for GST.

    For more information see GST and residential property.

    New residential premises

    New residential premises are residential premises where any of the following apply to the premises:

    • they have not previously been sold (or subject to a long-term lease) as residential premises
    • they have been created through substantial renovations (but note new residential premises of this kind are excluded from the withholding obligation)
    • they are new buildings which have been built to replace demolished buildings on the same land.

    Note: Residential premises cease to be new residential premises if they have been used solely for renting for a period of at least five years since they were constructed.

    For more information see Property and registering for GST.

    Potential residential land

    Potential residential land is land that it is permissible to be used for residential purposes but does not contain any buildings that are residential premises – for example, houses and strata units.

    It also includes land where local government zoning may permit a mixture of residential and commercial use.


    The supplier may or may not be the vendor under the contract or the registered proprietor on the certificate of title. The supplier is the entity liable for the GST on the property transaction.


    The purchaser is the entity that has purchased the property.

    If the property is sold, the purchaser is the entity that is buying the property. If the supply is a long-term lease, the purchaser is the entity that is leasing the property.

    Tenants in common

    If you are purchasing as tenants in common, each purchaser should be treated as a separate recipient. The withholding amount for each purchaser should be based on their portion of ownership. On the death or dissolution of an owner, the interest in the property does not automatically pass to the remaining owners. The total of the interests in the property must add up to 100%.

    Joint tenants

    With joint tenants, each owner has an undivided 100% interest in the property and if an owner dies or corporate owner dissolves, the interest in the property passes to the remaining joint tenants.

    If you are purchasing as joint tenants, you will be jointly responsible for the total withholding amount.

    Purchaser's or supplier's representative

    Depending on which state or territory the property is located in, the purchaser's or supplier's representative for the conveyancing process can include either a:

    • licenced conveyancer
    • solicitor.

    Note: Some jurisdictions may allow do-it-yourself (DIY) conveyancing.

    Contract price

    In most cases, the contract price is the GST-inclusive price of the supply as listed in the contract.

    The contract price is normally used for calculating the amount a purchaser needs to withhold from the supplier and remit to us.

    The contract price may be varied by the parties before completion.

    Normal settlement day adjustments can be disregarded (for example, payments made for apportionment of council rates and water rates).

    Note: If the contract includes non-monetary consideration, see price of the supply for calculating the withholding amount.

    Price of the supply

    The price of the supply is usually the contract price but in certain circumstances the price of the supply may also include non-monetary consideration (for example, land swaps).

    If that is the case, the amount to be withheld by the purchaser needs to be calculated using the total consideration for the supply, and not just the monetary amount listed as the contract price.

    There are special rules for calculating the withholding amount where the contract is between associates and the contract price is less than the GST inclusive market value of the property.

    Withholding amount

    The amount a purchaser must withhold and pay to us (rounded down to the nearest dollar) is generally either:

    • 1/11th of the contract price (for taxable supplies)
    • 7% of the contract price (for margin scheme supplies)
    • 10% of the GST exclusive market value of the supply for supplies between associates (for consideration less than GST-inclusive market value).

    Note: If the contract includes non-monetary consideration, see price of the supply for calculating the withholding amount.

    Long term leases

    Long term lease means a supply by way of lease, hire, or licence (including a renewal or extension of a lease, hire or licence) for at least 50 years if:

    • at the time of the lease, hire or licence, or the renewal or extension of the lease, hire or licence, it was reasonable to expect that it would continue for at least 50 years
    • the terms of the lease, hire or licence, or the renewal or extension of the lease, hire or licence, as they apply to the recipient are substantially the same as those under which the supplier held the premises. This is unless the supplier is an Australian Government agency.

    Property subdivision plan

    A property subdivision plan means a plan for the division of real property that has been registered under an Australian law with the relevant state or territory land titles office. Examples include:

    • strata plans
    • community plans
    • subdivision plans.

    We consider that where the physical description of a parcel of land is changed and identified in a registered deposited plan, that parcel of land is ‘included in a property sub-division plan’. The purpose the deposited plan was registered is not relevant (for example, if it is a consolidation or amalgamation or a division).

    Registered entity acquiring land for a creditable purpose

    A GST registered entity who acquires land for a creditable purpose is not subject to a withholding obligation.

    An entity will acquire property for a creditable purpose if they are registered for GST and they acquire it, to any extent, in carrying on an enterprise and the acquisition is not related to making input-taxed supplies or of a private or domestic nature.

    Note, a purchaser under the margin scheme may acquire property for a creditable purpose although it isn't a creditable acquisition.

    You can check whether an entity is registered for GST by searching ABN LookupExternal Link on the Australian Business Register. You can rely on a copy of the search on a relevant date.

    You can rely on either written correspondence from an entity, or a statement in the relevant contract, as to whether the entity is acquiring the land for a creditable purpose.

    Taxable supply

    A supply will be a taxable supply if you are registered (or required to be registered) for GST and the supply is:

    • made for consideration
    • made in the course or furtherance of an enterprise you carry on
    • not a GST-free or input taxed supply – for example, a supply made as
      • part of a GST-free supply of a going concern
      • a supply of GST-free farmland.

    For more information see GST definitions – sales (supplies).

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      Last modified: 05 Jul 2021QC 55431