Land tax


ACT Land Tax applies to all residential properties that are not occupied by an owner as their principal place of residence unless an exemption applies.

When purchasing a residential property you will be required to complete the Buyer Verification Declaration form with Access Canberra.

You will be asked if you plan to live in the property as your principal place of residence, and if so, you will also be asked when you will commence living in the property.

This information will be received by our office via the Land Titles Office once the property title has been registered in your name.

If you are not going to live in the property as your principal place of residence you will be liable to pay land tax from the 1st day of the 1st quarter that you own the property following settlement. If you are going to live in the property as your principal place of residence you will have 3 calendar months from settlement to begin living at the property. If you begin living at the property after 3 months you will be liable for land tax on the first day of the quarter following settlement, until you occupy the property as your principal place of residence.

You can complete the “Notification Form” to advise our Office about your land tax liability here.

If you become liable for land tax, including the foreign ownership surcharge, you have 30 days to notify our Office of your change in circumstances. This includes if you stop living at your principal place of residence.

A person’s principal place of residence is the home that the person primarily occupies, on an ongoing and permanent basis, as the person’s usual home.

No, only one of the owners has to occupy the home as their principal place of residence for it to be exempt from land tax.

People in a domestic partnership (marriage, civil union or de facto relationship) that own multiple properties can only claim the principal place of residence exemption on one property; unless the owners can demonstrate to the ACT Revenue Office that they have separated and there is no reasonable likelihood of cohabitation.

The land tax status of a property is based on its status on the first day of a quarter. If the property is vacant, and not an owner’s principal place of residence, land tax applies. If the property becomes vacant during a quarter it is liable from the first day of the following quarter.

If the property is your principal place of residence, you only need to pay land tax if the secondary dwelling is rented. If it is not rented then you are not required to pay land tax or notify our office of this situation.

If the property is not your principal place of residence you need to pay land tax whether the dwellings are rented or vacant.

Some properties are exempt from land tax. The main land tax exemption is for a property you own and occupy as your principal place of residence. Other exemptions include:

  • Properties unfit for occupation (e.g. under construction)
  • Exemption after the death of an owner
  • Life tenants
  • Unable to live independently
  • Rural properties
  • Nursing homes and retirement villages
  • Community Housing properties
  • Properties owned by religious institutions
  • Properties occupied for nil or nominal rent

All of these exemptions apply for the foreign ownership surcharge for an individual person, except the "nil or nominal rent" exemption.

For a corporation or trustee, land use exemptions (i.e. nursing homes, rural properties etc.) and unfit for occupation may be applied.

The builder’s exemption has been replaced by the “unfit for occupation” exemption.

If you are claiming an exemption whereby you are required to self-assess your own eligibility you can complete the Land Tax Self-Assessment Exemption Form.

If you are applying for a land tax exemption which needs to be considered by our office, you can complete and submit the Land Tax Exemption Application Form.

For more information on which exemptions are self-assessed and which exemptions require an application please visit the Notification and Exemptions page.