Government forces foreign owners of 15 illegally bought properties to sell

Government forces foreign owners of 15 illegally bought properties to sell
Government forces foreign owners of 15 illegally bought properties to sell

Treasurer Scott Morrison has forced the sale of 15 more illegally bought residential properties held by foreigners, taking the total number of forced sales to 61.

The 15 latest properties are in Victoria and Queensland, with a combined purchase price of more than $14 million and are held by investors from China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, the United Kingdom and Germany.

Of the 15, six were owned by Chinese while three were from the UK. The highest divestment was a $5.9 million property in Melbourne’s Rockbank, owned by an Indian national.

In all, the combined value of the 61 properties is $107 million, according to a press release on the Treasury department’s website.

The foreign nationals in the latest group of forced disposals purchased their properties without Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) approval and in some cases held multiple established properties in breach of the rules. The ATO identified these breaches through data matching programs as well as using information provided by the public.

Government forces foreign owners of 15 illegally bought properties to sell

Another 36 foreigners have sold properties during the course of ATO investigations, underscoring improved compliance with the rules, it said.

So far, the taxation office has found more than 570 foreigners who have breached property rules. 

Foreigners are not allowed to buy established dwellings and can only buy new property and have to get their applications approved by the FIRB.

Failure to meet these conditions could result in civil penalties or criminal prosecution.

The Turnbull government has increased stamp duty and other taxes for foreigners applying to buy property in Australia with a view to check the rapid rise in dwelling prices.

Since introducing the new fees on 1 December 2015 more than $140 million has been collected, the release said.

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Firb Forced Sale

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