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  • Foreign resident capital gains withholding and the tax return

    The foreign resident vendor must lodge a tax return at the end of the financial year declaring:

    • their Australian assessable income, including any capital gain from the disposal of the asset
    • whether the vendor will claim a credit for any withholding amount taken from their sale proceeds (for example, because they didn't provide the purchaser with a clearance certificate).

    A credit may be refunded in the relevant tax return if they don't have to pay capital gains tax on the sale of the property (for example, because it was their main residence).

    A foreign resident will need to apply for a TFN before they lodge an Australian tax return to ensure they can claim a credit for the amount withheld and paid to the ATO by the purchaser.

    In certain circumstances, an early tax return may be submitted. If a foreign resident vendor is not eligible to submit an early tax return, they must wait until the end of the financial year to submit it and receive a tax credit for the withholding paid by the purchaser.

    Applying the credit

    We will only apply the credit to the vendor when the:

    • purchaser has paid the withholding to us
    • vendor has lodged an Australian income tax return claiming the credit.

    We'll give vendors confirmation that a withholding payment has been paid on their behalf.

    In situations where the contract is signed in one financial year but the purchaser pays the withholding in the next financial year, we will apply the Commissioner's Remedial Power to allow the vendor to claim the credit in the same tax return in which they need to declare the capital gain.

    See also:

    When the purchaser withholds but doesn't pay it to us

    The vendor cannot claim a credit for the withholding until the purchaser pays the withholding to us.

    We will promptly take action to collect from the purchaser any withholding amount not paid by the due date.

    If the vendor is concerned the purchaser may not pay the withholding, the vendor should seek legal advice.


    A vendor may provide the purchaser with a clearance certificate or variation after the purchaser has submitted the purchaser payment notification.

    Phone us on 13 28 66 (fast codes 42) for referral to the relevant area who will try to help you resolve this situation.

      Last modified: 01 Mar 2021QC 48972