Land tax

Overview

New look land tax notices

Last year we changed our land tax notices, to make it easier to understand what you need to do and how your rates are used to provide essential services.

We had a lot of community feedback about these changes and we’ve listened. This year’s notices have been updated to take on board that feedback. The new notices will start being sent out from July 2019.


The ACT Government collects land tax to provide a range of essential services to the ACT community.

Land tax applies to ACT properties that are not your principal place of residence. This includes both rented properties and those which are vacant, properties owned as a trustee, and rented dwellings on the same property as your home (such as a granny flat).

If you’re not an Australian citizen or resident of Australia, you also need to pay the foreign ownership surcharge .

Land tax does not apply to commercial properties. Some residential properties are exempt from land tax .

You must tell the Commissioner for ACT Revenue if you own a property that is liable for land tax. You must tell us if you own a property liable for land tax. High penalties may apply if you do not notify us that you are liable for land tax.

Use this form to notify us of your land tax liability, including the foreign ownership surcharge.


Land tax when buying a property

When buying a residential property, we will ask you whether the property will be your principal place of residence and when you plan to move in.

If you tell us it will be, you won't be charged land tax. However, you must move into the property within three months after settlement.

We may issue a land tax assessment for your property if you don’t tell us it is your principal place of residence.

Buying or selling a property - Certificate of land tax

If you are selling or buying a property, you can apply for a Certificate of rates, land tax and other charges. This certificate shows the amount of general rates, land tax, land rent and other charges outstanding on the property. Please note that it is the responsibility of new property owner(s) to calculate settlement balances. You should check with your legal representative or person advising you on the sale or purchase that all outstanding land-based charges are included in settlement balances

Land tax applies to residential properties which are not the owner’s principal place of residence. It is assessed quarterly on 1 July, 1 October, 1 January and 1 April each year. If your settlement date falls on a day after any of these land tax assessment dates please make sure you apply for a Certificate of rates, land tax and other charges, or contact us for an update (where you have applied for a Certificate in the last 30 days).

The Certificate or update will set out the latest land tax charge for the property. For example, if your settlement date falls on 3 April and you have already applied for and received a Certificate on 20 March, contact us for an update of the land tax charge assessed on 1 April. The updated figures can be used to calculate the settlement balance for settlement day on 3 April.

In case it is not possible to obtain an update you should ensure that any outstanding land tax or other charges owing are addressed through your sale arrangements.

Note that any outstanding monies owing following settlement and transfer of a property will become the responsibility of the new owner/s.

You can apply for a Certificate of rates, land tax and other charges for using the online application form.

The fee for a Certificate of rates, land tax and other charges is $120.

When you apply for a certificate, you must declare that the certificate is to be used for conveyancing purposes only.

When a property becomes liable for land tax

If you own a property that becomes liable for land tax — for example, because you’ve moved out of your home to turn it into a rental property — you have 30 days to notify us.

If you don’t supply this information on time, it’s a tax default, and you may need to pay interest and penalties in addition to the land tax.

If you rent out a secondary dwelling on your property, like a granny flat, you’ll also have to tell us.

You can notify us using the Land Tax Notification Form to advise us of a change in circumstances that may alter your land tax liability. You’ll need your rates account number, the property address and the dates that your property starts or stops being liable for land tax.

You are responsible for ensuring land tax is correctly paid, even if you use an agent to manage your property.

Rented secondary dwellings

If there’s another dwelling on the same land as your principal place of residence, such as a granny flat, you must pay land tax while the other dwelling is being rented. The land tax payable is a proportion based on the rented floor area.

You’ll need to tell us that you’re renting a secondary dwelling.

Correcting an assessment

If you receive a land tax assessment for your property that you believe is in error, please contact us for a review.

Responsibilities of agents

You are responsible for ensuring land tax is correctly paid, even if you use an agent to manage your property. If the agent fails to notify us of your land tax liability, you will be held responsible for the unpaid land tax plus any interest and penalties.

Why do we have land tax?

The ACT Government is committed to raising revenue in a way that is fair, efficient and sustainable, delivering the resources we need to fund great public services for Canberrans.

Because of the ACT’s unique single level of government, rates and land tax don’t only fund local government services like roads and rubbish collection. They also help fund the essential services and infrastructure all Canberrans rely on, like schools, hospitals, public transport and community facilities.

Unlike stamp duty, rates and land tax are predictable and not subject to major swings in the housing market. This means the government can reliably provide funding every year for our hospitals, schools and other essential services.

The government’s 20-year tax reform program is now approaching the half-way point, delivering real benefits for Canberrans and a more stable revenue base to fund essential services for our community in the years to come.