Hundreds of foreign investors must pay ATO $2.7m in fines

By |

Five hundred overseas property buyers have been issued penalty notices and told to pay the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) $2.7m in fines.

According to the ATO, most of the breaches occurred in Victoria, New South Wales, Western Australia, and Queensland.

In December 2015, the federal government introduced a series of new penalties for foreign investors, including civil penalties supporting divestment orders, fines for third parties who knowingly helped foreign investors break the rules, and fees for foreign investment applications. 

Since their introduction, 500 penalties have been issued for 700 offences, including failure to get Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) approval before buying. Penalties were also issued to parties who breached a condition of previously approved applications, such as temporary residents failing to sell their properties once their visas expired.

Other types of offences include temporary resident visa holders owning more than one property, Aussie companies controlled by foreigners owning multiple established properties, and failure to commence construction on vacant land or embarking on redevelopments within conditional time frames.

“Additional matters are currently in contemplation and due for approval shortly,” the ATO said in a statement.

The latest data shows that 60% of overseas buyers investigated were granted retrospective approvals (investors who received retrospective approvals did not apply to the review board before purchasing, but would have otherwise received approval). However, strict conditions are attached to retrospective approvals, with breaches resulting in civil penalties or criminal prosecution. 

Overall, 20% of the properties and offences investigated resulted in a mandatory sale or self-divestment, said the ATO.

The findings are expected to be included in the FIRB’s annual report, which is due for imminent release.

Related stories:
Real Estate Agents To Help Combat Money Laundering
Foreign Elites Are Parking Illicit Cash In Aussie Real Estate


Whether you are looking to buy your first home, move home, refinance, or invest in property, a mortgage broker can help. Access loans from all the major lenders, get help with paperwork – plus there is no charge for this service. Get help from a local mortgage broker

Top Suburbs : st marys , mt gravatt , glendenning , newtown , emerald

go back

Get help with your investment property

Do you need help finding the right loan for your investment?

When investing in property, it is important to make sure that you not only have the lowest available rate that you can get, but also have the correct loan features for your needs.

Just fill in a few details below and we'll then arrange for a local Aussie Mortgage Broker to contact you and work out what features or types of loans are right for your needs. We'll even help with the paperwork. Plus an appointment is free.

How soon would you like a mortgage?
What is your Annual Household Income i $
Do you currently own any Investment Properties?
Do you own your own residence?
How much equity do you have in all your current properties?
First Name
Last Name
Where do you live?
What number can we reach you on?
E-mail address
We value your privacy and treat all your information seriously - you can check out our privacy policy here