Show download pdf controls
  • New or near-new dwelling exemption certificates

    Property developers (and other vendors) can apply for a new (or near-new) dwelling exemption certificate. The exemption certificate means that their foreign buyers don't need to seek their own individual foreign investment approvals, for the Australian properties covered by the certificate.

    A new dwelling is a dwelling that is, or will be, built on residential land and has not been previously sold or occupied.

    A near-new dwelling is a dwelling contained in a development that was previously sold prior to settlement and is to be sold under another agreement.

    The exemption certificate provides approval for a foreign buyer to purchase up to $3 million in a single development. If a foreign person wants to purchase a single dwelling above $3 million, or multiple dwellings with a total value greater than $3 million in a development, they must seek their own individual foreign investment approval.

    On this page:

    See also:

    Guidance notes are available on the Foreign Investment Review BoardExternal Link (FIRB) website. Select either the 'Word download' or 'PDF download' after you've clicked on the guidance note link.

    Developer eligibility

    Developers (either Australian or foreign) can apply for a new (or near-new) dwelling exemption certificate if the development:

    • will consist of 50 or more dwellings
    • has development approval from the relevant government authority, and
    • has foreign investment approval (if applicable) for purchase of the land the development is on, and any conditions of that approval are being met.

    Applications for an exemption certificate will be considered on a case-by-case basis to ensure they are not contrary to Australia's national interest.

    How to apply

    Make sure you have read the Residential real estate application instructions and that you have all the relevant information you need to complete your application before you start.

    Applications cannot be saved and resumed later.

    Follow these steps to apply for a new (or near-new) dwelling exemption certificate:

    1. You will need the following information to complete your application
      • contact details – name, phone number, email and address for the entity submitting the application
      • applicant details – identifying and contact information for each applicant covered by the exemption certificate
      • property details – name of the development, address, existing property value and whether there is an existing structure on the land
      • proposed development details – proposed development expenditure, number of dwellings, average price of dwellings, estimated sales revenue, number already sold, construction start date, construction completion date and details of any development approvals granted
      • supporting documentation will need to be attached to your application, these may include – copies of any contracts, development approvals, marketing schedules, development construction schedules, architectural plans and artists impressions
       
    2. Select New or near-new dwelling exemption certificate as the Application type.
    3. Before you submit your form, ensure you have answered all relevant questions correctly.
    4. After submitting your form, you must keep a copy of your
      • reference number – use this if you need to contact us about your application
      • payment reference number (PRN) – use this to pay your application fee and fee per sale each reporting period.
       
    5. When you're ready, start your application online.

    Approval conditions

    Approvals for a new (or near-new) dwelling exemption certificate are subject to the developer:

    • marketing the dwellings for sale in Australia
    • selling no more than 50% of the total number of dwellings in the development to foreign persons under the certificate
    • selling no more than $3 million worth of dwellings in the development to a single foreign person under the certificate
    • providing a copy of the exemption certificate to each foreign purchaser
    • reporting to the Australian Government, every six months (until all dwellings in the development are sold), on the dwellings sold to foreign persons under the certificate, including the purchaser details and the value of the sales
    • notifying the Australian Government, within 30 days, if the number of dwellings in the development is reduced to less than 50
    • paying a fee for each dwelling sold under the certificate.

    Fees applicable

    Developers will need to pay a fee when applying for a new (or near-new) dwelling exemption certificate. After you submit your application for the exemption certificate, you will be issued with an 18-digit payment reference number (PRN) to pay your exemption certificate application fee.

    This must be paid in full before we begin processing your application.

    If the certificate is granted, a separate fee per sale will also be payable for each dwelling sold to a foreign person under the certificate. These fees must be paid within 30 days of the end of each six-month reporting period the sale has been made, until all dwellings covered by the exemption certificate are sold.

    See also:

    Start your application

    Use this form to apply for a new (or near-new), dwelling exemption certificate.

    We collect data on purchases, sales and transfers of properties by foreign persons through the Land Register. The information you disclose on this form may be used for this purpose.

    This form can’t be completed in some older browsers, such as Internet Explorer 8. If the form doesn't appear, you may need to update your browser.

    Start your application

    Streamlined bulk approval

    Developers may apply for streamlined bulk approvals for each of their foreign investors, as an alternative to applying for a new (or near-new) dwelling exemption certificate.

    The benefit of this is that a developer can apply for foreign investment approval as an agent on behalf of the foreign purchaser, and the ATO will streamline assessment of the application.

    A separate application must be submitted for each foreign investor purchasing a dwelling in the development, and the foreign investor may need to pay a fee.

    The streamlined bulk approval process may be appropriate for properties valued under $3 million in a development, where the developer:

    • meets the requirements for a new (or near-new) dwelling exemption certificate
    • has a strong compliance history, and
    • has already marketed, and will continue to market, the development in Australia.

    Applications to use the streamlined bulk approval process should be emailed to firbresidential@ato.gov.au.

    The ATO will provide a response to the developer within 10 business days.

    You should be aware that the internet isn’t a secure environment. We don’t control the path of inbound and outbound emails, so we can’t guarantee the privacy of personal information sent by email. You should be aware of this risk if you choose to communicate with us by email and include any personal or sensitive information.

    How to report sales

    Developers who have been granted a new (or near-new) dwelling exemption certificate must report their sales every six months, until all dwellings covered by the exemption certificate are sold.

    Developments may include the sale of new dwellings and near-new dwellings. These sales need to be reported separately using the same approval number.

    See also:

    To meet the reporting requirements, you must:

    It's important to complete each field in the report, including all:

    You should be aware that the internet isn’t a secure environment. We don’t control the path of inbound and outbound emails, so we can’t guarantee the privacy of personal information sent by email. You should be aware of this risk if you choose to communicate with us by email and include any personal or sensitive information.

    Start your sales report

    The following provides you with information on how to complete the sales report.

    Developer details

    The following details about the developer are required.

    FIRB approval number

    The FIRB approval number entered on the report must be the same as that shown on the new (or near-new) dwelling exemption certificate approval.

    Date of approval

    The date of approval is the date the new (or near-new) dwelling exemption certificate approval was given, for the development that is being reported on.

    Name of developer

    The name of the developer entered on the report must be the same as that shown on the new (or near-new) dwelling exemption certificate approval.

    Name of development

    The name of the development entered on the report must be the same as that shown on the new (or near-new) dwelling exemption certificate approval.

    Period this report covers

    Enter the period this report covers using the DD/MM/YYYY format. The period is the six-month reporting period being covered for sales made in the development.

    Purchaser details

    The following details about the purchaser are required.

    Purchaser details

    Provide details about the purchaser, including name, date of birth, ABN, nationality and email address.

    Purchaser address

    Provide the purchaser's current address details. The purchaser's state and postcode is mandatory if the country of residence is within Australia.

    The purchaser's country of residence is mandatory if the country is outside Australia.

    Dwelling being purchased

    Provide the address details of the dwelling being purchased in the development for which the new (or near-new) dwelling exemption certificate approval was given.

    Purchase information

    The following table explains how to report sales details for purchasers based on the ownership type of the sale.

    Ownership type

    Reporting instructions

    Sole purchaser

    List each sale separately.

    Joint tenant

    List each joint tenant separately for each dwelling sold.

    The purchase price is the sale price of the dwelling.

    Tenants in common

    List each tenant in common separately for each dwelling sold.

    For each tenant in common, specify the share of the property each person will hold.

    Sole purchaser who is a company or trust

    List the full details of the shareholders or beneficiaries with the majority shareholding for each dwelling sold.

    Date contract for sale becomes binding

    Only report sales where the contract becomes binding (even if termination later occurred).

    A contract will become binding when the parties cannot get out of the contract unless they terminate, or default, on the contract provisions. The interest is acquired on the date that the contract is binding, which is usually when all conditions are met.

    See also:

    Fees per sale

    When you apply for the exemption certificate you will be issued with an 18-digit payment reference number (PRN) to pay your exemption certificate application fee.

    You must use this same PRN to pay the fees for each sale of property, covered by the exemption certificate, for the relevant reporting period. If your foreign buyer has agreed to pay this fee directly to the ATO you must give them this PRN, so that they can pay the fee directly to the ATO.

    Fees are due within 30 days of the end of the relevant six-month reporting period.

    If more than one buyer is purchasing the property as:

    • joint tenants (two or more persons that hold property jointly with each owning an undivided share of the whole) – there will only be a single fee payable for the jointly-owned dwelling, calculated on the total sale value.
    • tenants in common (one or more persons who hold property in common with another person or persons, with each holding a portion of interest in the whole property) – each tenant in common is liable to pay a fee proportional to their interest in the property.

    You must calculate the amount of fee payable, for each dwelling sold under the exemption certificate, to include in your sales report.

    See also:

    Changing your sales report

    If you want to change any of the information reported on the schedule after you've lodged it, you'll need to lodge another report.

    Penalties

    Property developers who don't comply with the conditions on the new (or near-new) dwelling exemption certificate may be subject to strict penalties, including civil and criminal penalties and revocation of your exemption certificate.

    Examples of not complying with your reporting conditions include:

    • failing to lodge your six-monthly report on time
    • incorrectly reporting the sales made in each six-monthly report
    • not paying the correct fee for each dwelling sold under the certificate.

    Cases of non-compliance with Australia’s foreign investment framework may also be brought to the attention of law enforcement agencies, and other Australian Government departments, such as the Department of Home Affairs.

    If you’ve breached your foreign investment conditions, contact us as soon as possible so we can help you sort it out.

    If you suspect someone else may have breached the foreign investment rules, you can report to us confidentially, either online or by phone.

    See also:

    Where to get help

    If you need help to complete or lodge your application or your six monthly sales report, phone us on:

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

    If you don't speak English well, and want to talk to a tax officer, you can phone the Translating and Interpreting Service on:

    • 13 14 50 within Australia
    • +61 3 9268 8332 from outside Australia.
    Last modified: 03 Aug 2021QC 66172