The Government imposes land tax to generate revenue to provide a range of essential services to the ACT community.
If you own a residential rental property in the ACT, you will need to notify the ACT Revenue Office in writing and pay land tax.
Who pays land tax?
Land tax applies to residential rental properties. Land tax also applies to residential properties owned by a trust or corporation, even if those properties are not rented. Land tax does not apply to commercial properties.
Rented residential properties include dual occupancies, granny flats, multiple dwellings and boarding houses that are rented to tenants.
Rent can include cash, services or other forms of payment that establish the existence of a tenancy arrangement.
Responsibilities of owners and trustees
If you own a residential property, you need to tell the ACT Revenue Office (by email or in writing) that it’s being rented within 30 days of the start of the tenancy. If you have just bought a rented property, you need to tell the ACT Revenue Office within 30 days after becoming an owner.
If you become the individual trustee of a residential property, you also need to tell the ACT Revenue Office in writing within 30 days of becoming a trustee.
If you don’t supply this information on time, it’s a tax default, and you may incur interest and penalties in addition to the land tax.
Land taxpayers can notify the Commissioner by email through our contact us form or by post:
ACT Revenue Office
PO Box 293
CIVIC SQUARE ACT 2608
Your note should include your rates account number, the property address and the dates your tenant moved into or out of your property, or the dates you started or stopped being a trustee.
Responsibilities of agents
If you employ an agent to manage your business or property, the agent also has the responsibility to tell the ACT Revenue Office when your property becomes liable for land tax.
However, you are ultimately responsible for ensuring land tax is correctly paid. If the agent fails to notify the Office, you will be held responsible for the unpaid land tax plus any interest and penalties. Under the law, a tax default by an agent is deemed to be a tax default by the taxpayer.
Certain types of residential land are exempt from land tax, such as property that serves as a retirement village or nursing home, or land that provides accommodation for a member of a religious organisation to perform his or her duties. Other land tax exemptions include:
- land used for rural purposes
- a broadacre subdivision
- a property with a guardian or manager for a person with a legal disability
- residential land that a trustee owns under the will of a deceased person and that a life tenant occupies
- residential land that a trustee or guardian owns on behalf of a person with a legal disability
- residential land that a not-for-profit housing corporation owns
An exemption on compassionate grounds may be available for up to one year on a rented residential property, if the Commissioner for ACT Revenue is satisfied that the owner is temporarily absent because of a compelling compassionate reason. To request this exemption, you must apply in writing to the commissioner .
Builders land tax exemption
Building or land-development corporations that own residential land can apply to the ACT Revenue Office for a potential two-year land tax exemption if they’re constructing new residential premises that they will sell when construction is complete. If eligible, the exemption goes into effect from the first day of the first quarter after the date of ownership.