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  • Vacancy fee form and payment instructions

    The vacancy fee form and payment instruction page explains how to:

    • lodge a vacancy fee return
    • update your details if your situation changes
    • how to make a payment.

    The vacancy fee return must be lodged by:

    • foreign owners of residential dwellings who made a foreign investment application for residential property after 7.30pm AEST on 9 May 2017
    • foreign owners of residential dwellings who purchased under a New dwelling exemption certificate that a developer applied for after 7.30pm AEST on 9 May 2017.

    The vacancy fee may also apply if a foreign person failed to submit a foreign investment application but purchased a residential property before 9 May 2017.

    Foreign owners of vacant land do not have to lodge a vacancy fee return until a dwelling has been constructed on the land.

    Find out about:

    See also:

    Completing your vacancy fee form

    You must complete your vacancy fee form in full and submit it in one session. You can't save an incomplete form and return to complete it at a later date.

    Mandatory fields are marked with an asterisk (*). Use the Help button on the top right-hand side of the form to find extra information about each field in the application form.

    You can move back and forth between sections using the Back and Next buttons.

    If there are errors on the form, a message will display so you can correct the information. You can't submit a form with errors.

    You can print or save this form to your own device for record-keeping purposes – use the Print friendly version button on each page.

    Start your Vacancy fee form

    Lodge your vacancy fee form here

    Step 1: Terms and conditions

    Read the terms and conditions carefully. It outlines your obligations and how we will use the information on the vacancy fee form.

    Check the 'I agree to the terms and conditions' box, and then click the Continue button.

    Step 2: Owner details

    You will need to provide information on whether the foreign owner of the residential dwelling:

    • is the sole owner
    • owns the dwelling with another party
    • owns the dwelling as joint tenants or as tenants in common.

    If the dwelling is jointly owned, you will need to enter the details of the other owners. Only one vacancy fee return needs to be lodged for joint owners of a dwelling (where they were included on the same application for approval for the purchase).

    Foreign owners who own the dwelling as tenants in common are each required to lodge an individual vacancy fee return.

    You also need to select the owner type from the list and provide relevant details.

    If the owner is an individual provide:

    • given name
    • family name
    • date of birth
    • email
    • phone details.

    If the owner is a company, provide the:

    • name of primary contact
    • company name
    • current email address
    • phone number.

    If the owner is a trust, provide the:

    • name of the primary contact
    • trust name
    • current email address
    • phone number.

    Step 3: Property details

    The property statement selected will determine if you need to lodge a vacancy return.

    Provide the land registration number and address details from the vacancy fee reminder to lodge email that we have sent to you. If you have not received a reminder email, make sure you are registered with the Land and water register. Refer to Annual vacancy fee for foreign owners.

    Property statement

    Select the action that applies to the property you are completing this form for. The following guidance will help you select the relevant statement.

    Lodge your vacancy fee return

    Select this option if there has been a dwelling on the land for the 12 month vacancy fee period. The 12 month vacancy fee period will be detailed in your reminder to lodge email.

    Select NEXT to proceed. Go to Step 4.

    Update your details

    Select this option to update details about your property. By choosing this option you will not be lodging a vacancy fee return. Go to Step 5.

    Step 4: Lodge your vacancy fee return

    The vacancy fee return page will appear if you selected the option, Lodge your vacancy fee return.

    To lodge the vacancy fee return enter the vacancy year start date from the vacancy fee reminder email we sent you to complete the vacancy year section. The end date will be calculated for you.

    Select the statement which specifies how your property was occupied during the vacancy year, either:

    • the property was residentially occupied for 183 days or more in the vacancy year
    • the property was residentially occupied for fewer than 183 days in the vacancy year
    • the dwelling was exempt from being residentially occupied for 183 days or more during the vacancy year.

    An exemption will apply if you can show that, for at least 183 days in the vacancy year, the relevant dwelling is incapable of being occupied as a residence. However you are still required to lodge the vacancy fee return. From the drop down list, select the appropriate type of exemption:

    • Repair – the property was undergoing substantial repair due to fire, malicious damage or natural disaster and was incapable of being occupied as a residence.
    • Renovation – the property was undergoing substantial renovations and was incapable of being occupied as a residence.
    • Damage – the property was damaged, unsafe or otherwise unsuitable to be occupied as a residence.
    • Medical – you or your tenant is receiving long-term, in-patient, medical or residential care.
    • Legal restrictions involving              
      • occupancy prohibited or legally restricted by order of a court, tribunal or a law of the Commonwealth, state or a territory
      • conditions in your foreign investment approval decision letter prohibiting residential occupancy.
       

    If COVID-19 (coronavirus) has affected how your property was residentially occupied and you need help completing your vacancy fee return, please email us at FIRBVacancy@ato.gov.au or contact us by phone.

    For definitions of the following terms refer to Vacancy fee for foreign owners - about the vacancy fee:

    • vacancy year
    • occupation day
    • residentially occupied.

    Declaration

    Before you submit your vacancy fee return, make sure you have answered all relevant questions correctly and have read the declaration. An incomplete return may delay processing and you may be asked to complete and submit a new return.

    Penalties may be imposed for giving false or misleading information.

    Select Submit to proceed. Go to Step 6.

    Step 5: Update your details

    To update your details select one of the following statements.

    Construction of a new dwelling has been completed and a certificate of occupancy was received

    Select this option if a certificate of occupancy has been received.

    Enter the date the notice of occupancy was issued and the number of dwellings that have been constructed on the land.

    By providing the occupation date, we can send you a reminder to lodge your vacancy fee return before it is due. If you do not lodge your vacancy fee return by the due date you may be liable to pay a vacancy fee, infringement notice and/or civil penalty.

    The vacant land or redevelopment property does not have a dwelling on it, or construction is not complete.

    Select this option if your vacant land or redevelopment property does not have a dwelling on it, or construction has commenced but not yet completed.

    The property has been disposed of during the vacancy year

    Select this option if you have sold or transferred the property during the vacancy year. Enter the date of disposal of the property.

    Owner(s) deceased during the vacancy year

    Select this option if one or more of the owners became deceased during the vacancy year. Enter the date of death.

    Owners no longer foreign persons during the vacancy year

    Select this option if you have gained permanent residency or become an Australian citizen. Enter the date owner(s) were no longer a foreign person.

    Declaration

    Before you submit your vacancy fee return, make sure you have answered all relevant questions correctly and have read the declaration. An incomplete return may delay processing and you may be asked to complete and submit a new return.

    Penalties may be imposed for giving false or misleading information.

    Select Submit to proceed. Go to Step 6.

    Step 6: Confirmation

    Once you have submitted the annual vacancy fee form and completed the declaration, a confirmation will appear advising if you are liable to pay an annual vacancy fee.

    If you are not liable to pay an annual vacancy fee you will see a confirmation advising that you are not liable for a fee for the current vacancy year. The confirmation will contain details of declaration reference number, Land registration number and address details.            

    This confirmation is an update to your vacancy year details, it is not an annual vacancy fee return.

    If you are liable to pay an annual vacancy fee you will see a confirmation containing details of:

    • declaration reference number
    • land registration number
    • address details.            

    The confirmation will also contain details of the calculated fee you need to pay, a payment reference number to use when paying your annual vacancy fee and options for payment of the annual vacancy fee. We will send a follow up notice via email advising you of the fee liable for the vacancy year within a few days.

    If you don’t see the confirmation that contains your declaration reference number, land registration number and address details within a few minutes of submitting your return, check our Troubleshooting guide for assistance. If you are unsure if your return was lodged or incorrectly lodged, contact us.

    We recommend you print or save the return for future reference. Click the Print friendly version button to print or save the registration details.

    It is also advisable to save the reference number from the confirmation page as proof of lodgment. Your reference number will also help us to assist you with any enquiries you may have regarding your lodgment in the future.

    Paying your vacancy fee

    When you lodge your vacancy fee return, the confirmation page will indicate if you are liable for a vacancy fee and the amount you need to pay.

    You will also receive a notice of liability of the vacancy fee payable via email after you have lodged.

    The notice will provide you with information on the reason the fee is being charged, the fee payable, payment details and the due date.

    To make a payment, go to how to pay. This information applies to individuals and businesses.

    Troubleshooting

    If you are experiencing issues lodging your return it may be due to one of the following reasons.

    Troubleshooting errors and solutions

    Error

    Solution

    Pages not displaying properly

    Try using another browser.

    Some users have reported using Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome has resolved their issue.

    The screen is blank or fails to load

    If you are using ad blocker software, make sure this is turned off or disabled.

    For the most common browsers:

    • Open the Menu or Tools from the Toolbar
    • Select Add-ons
    • Select Extensions
    • Search for content blockers and either disable or remove the add-on.

    Try using a different device.

    Form will not progress to next page

    Make sure you have added all the mandatory information in the correct format.

    You will see a red outline around incorrect information.

    Check that you have entered dates in the correct order, dd/mm/yyyy.

    Refer to the on-screen help guide for examples.

    Declaration will not submit when clicked or submit button is greyed out

    Make sure you have selected both the:

    • declaration statement
    • captcha box.

     

    Contact us

    If you are unable to resolve the issue from the list, phone us on:

    • 1800 050 377 (within Australia)
    • +61 2 6216 1111 (from outside Australia).

    If you require language assistance, phone the Translating and Interpreting Service on:

    • 13 14 50 (within Australia)
    • +61 3 9268 8332 (from outside Australia).
    Last modified: 03 Sep 2020QC 56144