There are limited exemptions to paying land tax for residential properties that are not occupied by an owner as their principal place of residence.
Most exemptions are self-assessed. This means that you must determine your eligibility for the following exemptions and tell us only if you are liable to pay land tax.
This is the main land tax exemption and applies to a property that's your principal place of residence - that is, your main home. See circulars GEN11.1 Principal Place of Residence and LTA001.2 Land Tax Exemptions for further information.
You don’t have to pay land tax on your principal place of residence if you were residing in it on the first day of the quarter (1 July, 1 October, 1 January or 1 April).
When you buy a home to occupy as your principal place of residence, you do not have to pay land tax provided you move into the home within 3 months of becoming the new owner and do not rent it.
Before you settle on a purchase, you should check with your legal representative or person advising you on the purchase that you have an up to date Certificate of rates, land tax and other changes and that any outstanding land-based charges are provided for as part of settlement balances.
The exemption also applies if you stop renting your property so that you can occupy it as your principal place of residence. You must move in within three months of the date the rental ceases.
You must tell us if there is a change in circumstances and the property is no longer rented, you can notify the ACT Revenue Office by completing the Land tax self-assessed exemption form. Once the ACT Revenue Office is notified of this change, the property will become exempt from land tax for the first quarter after the date the property stopped being rented (first day of each quarter 1 July, 1 October, 1 January or 1 April).
If you move out of your principal place of residence, it will be exempt from land tax for the first full quarter after you move out. During this time, the property may be left vacant or sold, but if you rent it you must pay land tax.
The former principal place of residence of a deceased owner is exempt from land tax for up to two years after the date of the owner’s death, or until it is transferred to a beneficiary of the deceased owner’s estate or becomes rented.
Homes occupied by a person with a life or term interest under a will are exempt from land tax.
You do not have to pay land tax on your former principal place of residence for up to two years if it is unoccupied because you can no longer live independently and now live:
- at a hospital or hospice as a patient
- at an approved mental health facility or approved community care facility
- at a nursing home
- with a carer who provides care to you and is eligible for a carer payment under the Social Security Act 1991 (Cwlth).
The two year period commences from the time you move out of your property for assisted living . If the property is occupied at any time during the two-year period (for example, if it is rented), it is no longer exempt from land tax.
If you are eligible for this exemption but you have already paid land tax, you can let us know and seek a refund by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org or via post to PO Box 293, Civic Square ACT 2608.
A home that is unfit for occupation as a place of residence is exempt from land tax. This exemption applies if your home is under construction, being significantly renovated, or has been damaged. The home must be unable to be lived in or rented during this time.
If your home is occupied by a person rent-free, you do not have to pay land tax.
If the occupant does pay you nominal rent (only enough to cover the cost of rates, repairs, maintenance and insurance for the property) you do not have to pay land tax. If the rent is above this amount land tax will apply.
The following parcels of land are exempt from land tax:
- rural land
- land owned by the Housing Commissioner
- Transfers etc. to entities for community housing
- retirement villages
- nursing homes
- religious accommodation
- land used for prescribed purposes
- development leases (broad acre subdivisions)
- land owned by a not-for-profit housing corporation
Use the Land tax self-assessed exemption form to notify us that you have a change of circumstances and now exempt from land tax.
When we receive this form, we will update your land tax account to reflect the exemption and you will cease receiving land tax notices.
We may ask you to demonstrate your eligibility for the exemption you have claimed. As such, you must keep supporting documentation for five years from the date you submit your Land Tax Self-Assessed Exemption Form.
You must tell us within 30 days and provide full details of any change in circumstance that may affect your land tax liability.
Affordable community housing land tax exemption - pilot
From 28 March 2019, property owners may be eligible for a land tax exemption when they rent their property through a registered community housing provider for affordable community housing purposes.
This is a limited exemption available for a pilot period until 30 June 2023 for up to 100 ACT properties.
This scheme is administered jointly by the ACT Revenue Office, which has responsibility for the land tax exemption, and the Environment Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate, which has responsibility for the ACT Housing Strategy.
To be eligible:
- property owners must have entered into an agreement with a registered community housing provider to make their property available to tenants, for the purpose of affordable community housing.
- the property must be rented at a rate that is less than 75 per cent of the current market rent.
- the property must be rented to a tenant or tenants whose combined gross income is less than:
- $100,000 per annum; or
- The household composition income limits described below,
whichever is the greater.
There are currently two affordable rental schemes being offered by community housing providers. More information on the affordable rental programs is available at:
- https://www.homegroundrealestatecanberra.com.au or
Household composition income limits
|For||Household composition income limit|
|First sole parent||$53,104|
|Each additional adult||$19,315|
For example, if a household is comprised of a sole parent and two children, the household composition income limit would be $86,600 (made up of $53,104 + $16,748 + $16,748). The household earns $90,000 gross in 2018-19 and would be eligible tenants for the purposes of this exemption as their combined gross income is less than $100,000.
|For||Household composition income limit|
|First sole parent||$54,060|
|Each additional adult||$19,663|
|For||Household composition income limit|
|First sole parent||$55,034|
|Each additional adult||$20,017|
If you qualify for this exemption:
- complete the Affordable Community Housing Land Tax Exemption Form,
- attach the signed agreement with the registered community housing provider, and
- submit it to the ACT Revenue Office within 14 days of the rental of your property. The registered community housing provider may submit thee documents on your behalf in which case they will need to fill in their details and declare on the form that they act as your agent.
Forms completed and received in the last two weeks of a quarter will not be processed until the following quarter. Each quarter starts on the first day of the quarter (i.e. 1 January, 1 April, 1 July and 1 September)
Other land tax exemptions
You must apply to us if you think you are eligible for the following land tax exemptions.
You can seek an exemption from land tax if you are temporarily absent due to compelling compassionate reasons. This exemption may be granted for a period of up to two years.
The former principal place of residence of a deceased owner is exempt from land tax for up to two years after the date of the owner’s death, or until it is transferred to a beneficiary of the deceased owner’s estate or becomes rented. Before the two-year period ends, the personal representative may apply, in writing, to the commissioner to extend the period.
To apply for an extension of this exemption, the property must not have been rented since the date of the owner’s death and must not have been registered in the name of a person other than the deceased owner or the deceased owner’s personal representative.
The commissioner must also be satisfied that a person is occupying the property as their principal place of residence, and the person is likely to receive an interest in the parcel in accordance with the deceased’s owner’s estate.
To apply to for a land tax exemption, fill out the
We will assess your application and provide you with written notification of the outcome.
If your application is successful, we will update your land tax account to reflect the exemption you have applied for and you will cease receiving land tax notices.
You must notify our office within 30 days and provide full details of any change in circumstance that may affect your land tax liability.