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Construction of new Sydney airport terminal due to start next year

2020-09-08T15:04:10+10:00

Construction of a passenger terminal at Sydney’s new $5.3 billion international airport is expected to start by the end of next year after several large contractors were shortlisted for the work.

The federal government has also released further concept designs for Western Sydney Airport’s terminal at Badgerys Creek, which is about 50 kilometres west of Sydney’s CBD.

Western Sydney Airport, a wholly government-owned company, declined to put an estimate on the cost of building the terminal, arguing it would compromise competitive tender processes. The terminal is, however, included in the overall $5.3 billion cost estimate for the airport.

The airport company has shortlisted Multiplex, Watpac and a Lendlease-CPB Contractors joint venture to tender for construction of the terminal. Its design will be finalised when the winning contractor is appointed in the middle of next year.

The terminal will include a public plaza, shops, restaurants and cafes, and will be connected to the local transport network by the $1.8 billion M12 motorway – construction of which is due to start in 2022 – and a metro rail line to St Mary’s via two new stations at Luddenham and Orchard Hills.

Major construction of the $8 billion Western Sydney Airport metro line is scheduled to start next year, allowing for the rail link to be operational in time for the airport’s opening in 2026.

The terminal is expected to be completed by 2025, the same time as the runway is finished, allowing for about a year to bed down operations before the first passengers pass through its gates.

Federal Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure Minister Alan Tudge said the airport’s construction would support 11,000 direct and indirect jobs in western Sydney, and it was important that work on the 1780-hectare site had continued despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

Aviation and tourism have been among the industries hardest hit by the pandemic, resulting in Qantas and Virgin Australia sacking thousands of staff.

Mr Tudge said the airport’s opening was still six years away, by which time most expected a full economic recovery. “The airport is being built not just for 2026 but for the next century,” he said.

Western Sydney Airport chief executive Simon Hickey said experts had forecast global air traffic to recover from the impacts of COVID-19 well before the airport would open at the end of 2026.

“It’s more important than ever that nation-building projects such as [the new airport] continue to create jobs and drive local investment,” said Mr Hickey, who is a former senior Qantas executive.

London’s Zaha Hadid Architects and Sydney’s Cox Architecture are designing the terminal, which will feature timber ceilings and vertical gardens.

So far, excavators and other equipment have moved a fifth of the 25 million cubic metres of the earth that needs to be shifted to allow for the terminal, runway, roads and rail link to be built.

Construction of new Sydney airport terminal due to start next year2020-09-08T15:04:10+10:00

NSW Govt to invest $15m in Hunter Water solar uptake

2020-08-07T09:04:12+10:00

NSW State Government-owned water and sewage utility Hunter Water is set to join a now surging river of water utilities around Australia investing strongly in the uptake of solar PV. The announcement came with the completion of a 100 kW system at Branxton Wastewater Treatment Works.

The New South Wales (NSW) Berejiklian Government is set to invest over $15 million into renewable energy installations at Hunter Water’s treatment plants and pump stations over the next four years as the utility surges toward carbon neutrality. 

Perhaps inspired by the solar success of South Australian water and sewage utility SA Water, which announced in January that it was going to invest more than $300 million in solar and energy storage in 2020 alone, Hunter Water has already installed a 100 kW solar system at the Branxton Wastewater Treatment Works. 

Melinda Pavey, NSW Minister for Water, Property and Housing said that this “investment is all about innovation and supporting jobs in the Hunter while also reducing Hunter Water’s electricity bill.” 

The 252-panel 100 kW solar array is the first of Hunter Water’s planned uptake. The system is comprised of both rooftop and ground-mounted panels, and there is scope for additional capacity in the future. 

“We’re really excited by the Renewable Energy Project and what lies ahead of us,” said Hunter Water Managing Director, Darren Cleary. “Electricity is one of our major expenses, accounting for about 10% of our operating costs and solar is one of a number of opportunities available that can help to reduce these costs, and reduce carbon emissions.” 

Upon complete rollout, which will see at least 20 sites embrace solar, including Morpeth, Kurri Kurri, and Boulder Bay Wastewater Treatment Works, the entire Renewable Energy Project is estimated to save Hunter Water $1.15 million on its bill every year. 

“We see this project as an ongoing opportunity to add sites and new technologies as they emerge,” continued Cleary, “including battery storage and floating solar, to help[ us achieve our goal of carbon neutrality.” 

Water Industry Rising with the Solar Tide 

In January 2020, researchers at the University of Queensland’s (UQ) School of Chemical Engineering quantified the amount of on-site renewable electricity generation in the Australian water industry, finding solar PV to be among the most adopted sources of electricity. 

According to a paper published in the Journal of Cleaner Production, UQ researchers found that in 2018 (the study’s focus year), the Australian water industry generated 18% (279 GWh/y) of its electricity demand from on-site renewable electricity sources. 

Of course, this number is set to rise significantly thanks to the strong investment of SA Water and Hunter Water, but those two aren’t alone. In 2019, thirteen of Victoria’s water corporations partnered to buy clean energy from the Kiamal Solar Farm. In February 2020, Western Australian Government-owned Water Corporation committed $30 million of three years toward solar energy projects. In the same month, Victoria’s Central Highlands Water became yet another tributary to the river of Australian water utilities investing in solar thanks to its community-driven Solar Initiative

NSW Getting Solar Serious 

Investing in solar energy for publicly owned facilities is a sure way to save on emissions and electricity costs, and it’s not just Hunter Water that is seeing state funds flow into to support solar uptake. Only this week it was announced that a 600 kW system would be installed on the roof of the Armidale Hospital as part of its redevelopment. The redevelopment didn’t originally include renewable energy, but unlike the Federal Government, 2020 has convinced NSW that now is the time to act.

NSW Govt to invest $15m in Hunter Water solar uptake2020-08-07T09:04:12+10:00

COVID-19 tax returns: 20 deductions Australians must not forget as financial relief arrives

2020-08-03T06:31:28+10:00

Rising bills and changes to working hours have stretched budgets in many households, while others are relying on JobKeeper and JobSeeker. But Aussies can find ways to get back more cash.

A balancing act for household finances is intensifying as tax returns deliver Australians a chance to claw back some COVID-19 costs but wage subsidies get set to shrink.

Overall household incomes are likely to be higher thanks to massive government cash injections, but the coronavirus created a wide range of financial winners and losers.

Surging electricity bills and extra technology spending during the pandemic can be offset by bigger tax deductions for working from home, and lower spending on things such as transport, clothing, childcare and restaurants.

More than two in five Australians have worked from home this year, and the Australian Taxation office has given them three ways to claim deductions for it.

However, the ATO’s new 80c-an-hour “shortcut” tax deduction generally delivers lower refunds than other working-from-home claim methods.

Cost-of-living changes have affected everyone, and AMP Capital chief economist Shane Oliver said there had been a spending boost on home office equipment, renovations and electrical items.

“I suspect the household sector as a whole has received more income,” Dr Oliver said.

“Unemployment has gone up but not that much. Meanwhile, the coronavirus supplement has doubled the unemployment benefit and a lot of people have been getting JobKeeper.

“About one-quarter of the people who get JobKeeper are getting $400 to $500 more a fortnight than they previously got.”

Dr Oliver said JobKeeper was pumping almost $12 billion a month into homes and there was a “mixed bag” of winners and losers.

Younger, part-time and some casual workers got an income boost while self-employed people, higher income earners and hospitality workers were generally worse off, he said.

JobKeeper has been extended beyond its September end date and from then will be paid – at reduced levels – to people who qualify until March next year.

CommSec chief economist Craig James said new Bureau of Statistics data showed wages paid to people aged under 20 had climbed 19.1 per cent between March 14 and July 11, but people aged 40-49 suffered a 6.5 per cent pay cut.

“It suggests young people are in front,” he said.

“If JobKeeper is extended further into next year there would have to be more re-tinkering on payment rates.”

Bigger energy bills are arriving as people spend more time at home, but Mr James said new inflation data showed electricity prices dropped 2.5 per cent in the June quarter as some retailers offered COVID-19 concessions.

MyBudget director Tammy Barton said her firm had seen “a significant rise in utility bills” and was encouraging people to shop around for cheaper power deals from providers offering reductions during the pandemic.

She said living costs had changed, with lower spending on fuel, public transport, eating out, beauty therapy and gyms but more money flowing to takeaway food, streaming services and online shopping.

“People who can afford it are boosting their emergency fund savings and really trying to plan ahead in the event that they may be impacted in the future,” Ms Barton said.

“A lot of our clients have cancelled upcoming holidays, which has meant a healthy redistribution of already-saved cash back into their budgets.”

Tax refunds also offer financial respite, and H&R Block director of tax communications Mark Chapman said people should think carefully about using the new 80c-an-hour deduction for working from home.

“A lot of people who lodged themselves through myTax are probably doing it that way, but any decent tax agent would probably tell you not to do it that way,” he said.

“You generally get a bigger deduction using the 52c rate method – that way you can claim some additional items like mobile phones and internet – or an even bigger deduction if claiming actual costs.

“The 80c rule is simple but it will give you the lowest deduction.”

Mr Chapman said people who had lodged their tax return but failed to claim all deductions could amend it online. “It’s a pretty straightforward process,” he said.

 

COVID-19 tax returns: 20 deductions Australians must not forget as financial relief arrives2020-08-03T06:31:28+10:00

Are you looking for a high yielding investment property?

2020-08-01T08:58:34+10:00

Then NDIS investment property might be the right one for you.

Investing in NDIS property net rental return. Estimated returns between $95,000 and up to $115,000 per annum, per property.

What is an ‘NDIS’ Property?

The NDIS is a new and evolving 20 yr scheme providing a powerful punch to investors.

20 years? What does that even mean? For investors, it’s high yield property income where the Government will pay the rental costs of the participant, for 20 years.

Why consider NDIS homes? Ok, so with Higher Returns aside, NDIS Tenants are considered ‘Life Tenants’.  Many disabled SDA residents want to “stay for life” when they’re inappropriate homes, that is why we refer to these homes as their “Forever Home”.

Research states that there needs to be a 60% increase in the number of available disability homes.

We can make investing in NDIS/SDA property an easy process

To show the process we will use a typical 4 bedroom home as an example.

4 Bedroom, 4 Bathroom Home This caters for 3 tenants/participants and 1 onsite overnight carer $640,000

Initial Deposit on signing an Expression of Interest is $1,000. This secures the land (No Commitment) but held for the client whilst the contract process takes place. It takes 2 to 5 working days for both land and build contracts to be prepared and they then go out to be signed by purchasers: Once contracts are returned, they are signed by the land developer and builder.

Contract dated after the last person signs the land contract.

(This is usually the land developer or his solicitor). From the date of contract there are 5 working days cooling-off period and if the contract is not Subject to Finance now becomes unconditional. (usually a Cash Contract)

If the contract is still subject to finance, it becomes unconditional after finance approval. (Usually 21 Days STF but extension granted where lenders take longer than expected) Now the balance of the deposit is due on land including the $1,000 initial deposit. Normally this is 5% of the land value.

Land contract is now unconditional

 Builder may invoice for 1st progress build deposit 5% (Refer to progress payment (1) of build contract) this may sometimes happen at unconditional or after the land settles. Council, usually 2 weeks for approval plans (can Vary) after approval footing payment due etc – Refer to build Contract for progress payment schedule to settlement.

Usual deposit conditions 5% deposit on both house & land Balance land deposit to 5% on unconditional.
The land is land tax-exempt and stamp duty is only payable on the land

When the land contract is unconditional

The plans are ready to submit to the council.
The land contract settles -The builder has confirmed by letter from the certifier that the plans are compliant, the builder will lodge plans and wait for approval of drawings from Council.

Click the NDIS Investment Properties Menu Button for more information.

Are you looking for a high yielding investment property?2020-08-01T08:58:34+10:00

First Home Buyers Stamp Duty Concession – QLD

2020-07-31T11:37:00+10:00

You can claim a first home concession for transfer duty when acquiring your first residence if you meet certain requirements.

The first home concession only applies to a home valued under $550,000 and can save you up to $15,925. The home concession may still apply for a home valued over $550,000.

You do not have to be an Australian citizen or permanent resident to claim a concession, but you must meet the eligibility criteria. Additional foreign acquirer duty may apply if you are a foreign person.

Eligibility

To be eligible for a first home concession when you buy or acquire a home, you must:

  • have never claimed the first home vacant land concession
  • have never held an interest in another residence anywhere in Australia or overseas
  • be at least 18 years of age (we explain below when we may waive this requirement)
  • move into it with your personal belongings and live there on a daily basis within 1 year of settlement
  • not dispose (sell, transfer, lease or otherwise grant exclusive possession) of all or part of the property before you move in
  • be paying market value if the residence is valued between $500,001 and $549,999.

To keep the benefit of the first home concession in full after you move in, you must not dispose of all or part of the property within 1 year. A partial concession may apply if you dispose within 1 year.

Use our home concession eligibility tester to find out if you are eligible to claim the home concession or first home concession.

For more information, read the public ruling on occupancy requirements for homes and first homes (DA085.1).

Two or more acquirers

Provided you qualify, you can claim a first home concession on your interest (or share), whether or not other acquirers also qualify for a first home concession or home concession.

Demolishing the home

The first home concession will not apply if you demolish the existing home without first living there, even if you construct and occupy a new home within a year.

Existing tenants or previous owners

Any existing tenants must move out when their lease expires or within 6 months of settlement, whichever is the earlier, for you to stay eligible for the concession. Previous owners who continue to stay in the property must also move out within 6 months.

How much will you pay

You can use the transfer duty estimator or rates for home concessions to find out how much duty you may have to pay when you buy your home.

The first home concession is calculated at the home concession rate minus the first home concession amount.

If the home is valued at $500,000 or under, the first home concession amount will match the home concession rate, resulting in no duty payable.

The concession doesn’t apply to any part of the land that’s used for non-residential purposes. Read the public ruling on the residential purposes for the transfer duty concession for homes and first homes (DA087.1).

If there’s a non-residential part of the land, use the transfer duty calculator to check the amount you will pay.

Calculation examples

​Home value​Duty payable​Calculation
​$450,000​$0.00​No duty payable because the value of the residence is under $500,000.
​$530,000​$6,300.00​The home concession reduces the duty to $9,800. As the first home is valued between $530,000 and $534,999.99, a further concession of $3,500 applies.
​$600,000​$12,850.00​Only the home concession applies because the value of the residence is over $550,000.

How to claim

Complete the following forms and include them with your contract, and valuation (if required), when lodging them for stamping:

For help completing the Title Registry forms, read Land Title Practice Manual: Part 1—Transfer (PDF, 339KB) and the guide to completing Form 24 (PDF, 262KB).

When lodging documents, make sure you include a covering letter with your name, address and details of what you have lodged. If you also give us an email address or mobile number, we will confirm when we’ve received your documents.

Find out more about lodging and stamping your documents.

18 years of age requirement

To claim a first home concession as a minor, you need to apply to us first so we can determine if we should make an exception to the age requirement.

Minors can only claim a first home concession if we are satisfied that the transaction is not part of a scheme to avoid transfer duty.

We will consider the following factors on a case-by-case basis:

  • your age
  • the way in which the first home purchase agreement is structured
  • the reason for the purchase
  • the living arrangements for you and your family
  • the family arrangements generally
  • whether the funds to purchase the home were independently sourced.

If you are not eligible for the first home concession, you may still be eligible to claim a home concession that has no age restrictions and does not require pre-approval.

Claiming after the transfer

If you’re unsure that you meet the concession requirements, you can pay duty at the full rate when your documents are assessed and then claim the concession later if you have met, or will meet, the requirements. You just need to lodge the forms and documents with us.

You can also do this if you didn’t claim a concession when you acquired the home because you weren’t going to occupy it, but then you decide to move in.

In either case, we will reassess your duty at the concessional rate and refund the balance of your original payment. Find out about applying for a reassessment.

Obligations after you claim

You must notify us by completing a notice for reassessment (Form D2.4) (also available as a PDF), if you:

  • don’t move into the residence within 1 year of settlement
  • dispose of the residence before moving in, or within 1 year of moving in
  • demolish the existing home without first living there.

Read more about common reasons for reassessment to find out about a reassessment of your transfer duty concession and what documents you need to lodge.

After a reassessment, you may have to pay a transfer duty liability. You may also have to pay unpaid tax interest and penalty tax, depending on your circumstances.

First Home Buyers Stamp Duty Concession – QLD2020-07-31T11:37:00+10:00

Apply for a first home buyer duty exemption, concession or reduction – VIC

2020-07-31T11:33:33+10:00

General information

When you buy your first home and the contract date is on or after 1 July 2017, you may be eligible for a duty exemption or concession. If your contract is dated before 1 July 2017, you may be eligible for a 50% duty reduction.

Both the duty exemption and the 50% duty reduction are available to first home buyers when they purchase a new or established property in Victoria with a dutiable value up to $600,000. The duty concession applies where the dutiable value is more than $600,000 but not more than $750,000.

If you satisfy the eligibility requirements for the First Home Owner Grant (FHOG), you are entitled to these first home buyer duty benefits. This is the case even if your circumstances prevent you from actually receiving the FHOG – for example, if your first home purchase is an established/existing home (ineligible for the FHOG) rather than a newly built home (eligible for the FHOG).

Your conveyancer or solicitor will usually apply for the exemption, concession or reduction, if you are eligible, when they complete the Digital Duties Form as part of the electronic conveyancing process.

  1. Gather required information

    You need the following information and supporting documents to apply for the duty exemption, concession or reduction:

    • Copy of the contract of sale as this includes the property details and full name of the transferor (seller) and transferee (buyer).
    • Title details, including copies of transfer of land documentation.
    • Company or unit trust details including ABN or ACN for land use entitlements.
  2. Complete your form

    The Digital Duties Form is completed on screen. If you are a registered to use Duties Online, you can create a form under the ‘Create’ tab in the system.

    If you are an individual you must register and lodge via our public lodgement system. Registration is simple and you can electronically lodge scanned documents for a land transfer or declaration of trust via our website after you register with us.

    If you overpaid duty on your purchase because you did not claim an exemption, concession or reduction that you were eligible for, you can apply for a refund up to five years after the duty was paid.

    You must complete the Duties Refund SmartForm and lodge it online via Duties Online or our public lodgement system.

Next Steps

We contact you if we need more information.

If you receive this duty reduction and your circumstances change so that you no longer meet the residency requirements, you must notify us in writing within 30 days of the change(s) so we can reassess duty.

Apply for a first home buyer duty exemption, concession or reduction – VIC2020-07-31T11:33:33+10:00

Applying for the First Home Owner Grant – VIC

2020-07-31T11:31:25+10:00

A $10,000 First Home Owner Grant (FHOG) is available when you buy or build your first new home.

The FHOG is $20,000 for new homes built in regional Victoria, for contracts signed from 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2021. (Read information about FHOG amounts available before 1 July 2013.)

Your first home can be a house, townhouse, apartment, unit or similar but it must be valued at $750,000 or less, be the first sale of the property as residential premises and the home must be less than five years old.

It cannot be an investment property or a holiday house.

​The FHOG may be paid in addition to other exemptions or concessions for eligible homebuyers, including pensioners.

The timing of your FHOG payment depends on the contract you sign to buy or build your new home, and whether you lodge your application directly with us or via an approved agent.

Will I be eligible for the First Home Owner Grant?

What you need to know first

  1. In the majority of cases, the bank or credit union that is providing your finance (see the list of approved agents) will lodge the FHOG application form on your behalf. Make sure you check with them that they are lodging it for you. If you require the grant for settlement or first draw down/progress payment, you must lodge your application with an approved agent. Go to step 2.
  2. Only lodge your application with us if an approved agent is not lodging the FHOG application form on your behalf. You must send us the original application form, which you download, print and complete in blue or black ink, together with copies of your supporting documents. Applications cannot be lodged with us until after the completion of the eligible transaction.

Check your eligibility

  1. Your answers to seven checklist questions on the Application for First Home Owner Grant (FHOG-Form-02) determines your eligibility to receive the grant. You can also use our online tool to assess your eligibility.

    You are not entitled to the FHOG if you or your spouse/partner have previously:

    • Received a first-home owner grant in Australia.
    • Owned a home or other residential property in Australia, either jointly or separately, before
      1 July 2000.
    • Occupied, for a continuous period of at least six months, a home which either of you owned or part-owned on or after 1 July 2000 in Australia.

    You may still be eligible for the FHOG if you or your spouse/partner purchased a property on or after 1 July 2000 and have not lived there as your home.

    Additionally, to receive the FHOG at least one applicant must:

    • Must occupy the home as their principal place of reside (PPR) for at least 12 months, commencing within 12 months of settlement or completion of construction.
    • Be aged 18 or over (discretionary).
    • Be an Australian citizen or permanent resident:
      • In the case of the purchase of a new home – as at the date on which the applicant/s become entitled to possession of the home under the contract, which generally occurs on the date of settlement.
      • In the case of entering into a comprehensive building contract – as at the date on which the building is ready for occupation as a place of residence, which generally occurs when construction of the home is finished.

    New Zealanders holding a special category visa under s32 of the Migration Act 1958 and anyone holding a permanent visa under s30(1) are considered permanent residents for these purposes.

    New Zealand citizens must be living in Australia when the eligible transaction is completed.

    Full FHOG eligibility criteria are outlined in the lodgement guide.

    Penalties and interest will apply if you receive the FHOG and are not entitled to it.

  2. Gather supporting evidence

    If you are lodging with an approved agent, each applicant and their spouse/partner must provide a copy (not the original) of a current primary identity document and evidence of citizenship or permanent residency (a Category 1 document).

    If you are lodging directly with us, each applicant and their spouse/partner must provide a copy (not the original) of a current document from each of the four categories (i.e. four documents per person). A single document cannot be used for more than one category.

    Category 1

    A copy of a current primary identity document and evidence of citizenship or permanent residency (provide one document).

    If you are an Australian citizen:

    • Australian birth certificate issued by the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages,
    • Australian passport, or
    • citizenship certificate.

    If you are a citizen of another country:

    • passport, and
    • evidence of permanent residency or permanent residence visa.

    A New Zealand citizen:

    • current passport.

    Category 2

    Evidence (photo and signature) of link between identity and person (provide one document).

    A copy of current:

    • Australian driver licence,
    • passport,
    • firearm licence, or
    • proof of Age photo ID card.

    Category 3

    Evidence that each applicant and their spouse/partner reside in Australia (provide one document).

    A copy of current:

    • Medicare card,
    • motor vehicle registration, or
    • Centrelink or Department of Veterans’ Affairs card.

    Category 4

    Evidence of each applicant and their spouse/partner’s current residential address (provide one document).

    A copy of:

    • utility documents (e.g. bills for electricity, gas, water),
    • building or contents insurance policy,
    • rate notice,
    • mortgage papers for the property for which you are claiming the FHOG,
    • electoral enrolment card,
    • lease or tenancy agreement,
    • work notice/reports/reference, or
    • taxation assessment notice.

    Additional supporting evidence

    Additional supporting evidence is required if any of the following applies to you:

    • Married – a copy of your marriage certificate.
    • Divorced – a copy of your divorce certificate.
    • Widowed – a copy of the death certificate of your spouse/partner.
    • Separated – a statutory declaration with the following information:
      • the name of your former spouse/partner,
      • former spouse/partner’s date of birth,
      • the date you were married or started your domestic relationship,
      • the date you separated or your former spouse/partner’s current address (if known),
      • a statement to the effect that you do not live together and have no intention of resuming living together.

    Evidence of change of name is required if the name on any of the documents presented is different to the name of the applicant (e.g. change of name certificate, statutory declaration).

  3. Complete the application

    If you are lodging with an approved agent, you do not need to complete the application on this page.

    If you are lodging directly with us, each applicant should read our lodgement guide and application form before completing and submitting their application.

    The Application for First Home Owner Grant (FHOG-Form-02) must be printed and then completed, using blue or black pen. It must be signed before it is lodged.

     

  4. Lodge the application

    If you are applying for the FHOG through an approved agent, they will lodge the application form on your behalf after you have signed it and had it witnessed.

    If you are applying for the FHOG through us, your application and all supporting documents can be mailed to:

    State Revenue Office
    GPO Box 1641
    Melbourne
    VIC 3001

    or

    State Revenue Office
    DX 260090
    Melbourne

    You must lodge your application within 12 months of settlement or completion of construction of your home.

    Important notes

    The date the grant is paid depends on whether you are building or buying. It also depends on whether you are applying directly to us or through an approved agent.

    If you are unable to meet your 12 month residency requirement because of a change in circumstances, you must notify us in writing within 14 days of the change.

    If you believe you are eligible for the FHOG and we determine you are ineligible, you can contact us and seek a review of your application.

Applying for the First Home Owner Grant – VIC2020-07-31T11:31:25+10:00

Applying for a first home owner grant – QLD

2020-07-31T11:25:08+10:00

The Queensland First Home Owners’ Grant is a state government initiative to help first home owners to get their new first home sooner.

If your contract is dated 1 July 2018 or later, you can get the Queensland grant of $15,000 towards buying or building your new house, unit or townhouse (valued at less than $750,000). The grant is paid per new home; not to each of the applicants for the same home.

The grant amount has varied since it was first introduced in 2000. Contracts dated earlier than 1 July 2018 may still be eligible for a grant.

You can buy off the plan or choose to build yourself.

To be eligible for the grant:

  • You must be at least 18 years of age.
  • You must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident (or applying with someone who is).
  • You or your spouse must not have previously owned property in Australia that you lived in.
  • You must be buying or building a brand new home.
  • The value of the home including the land is less than $750,000.
  • You must move into the new home as your principal place of residence within 1 year of the completed transaction and live there continuously for 6 months.

You might also qualify for the Regional home building boost grant and the HomeBuilder grant.

This guide will explain applying for a first home owner grant, and your obligations after receiving it.

More information

Check your eligibility

If you meet the following criteria, you might be eligible for a first home owner grant.

Unless you are an owner builder, you must have a signed contract to buy or build your first home before applying.

Age

You (and any co-applicants for the grant) are natural persons aged 18 years or older.

New home

The home you are buying or building must be new and valued less than $750,000 (including land).

new home is a brand new dwelling (e.g. house, unit, duplex, townhouse, granny flat built on a relative’s land) that has not been previously occupied as a place of residence or sold as a place of residence.

The grant may also be available for:

  • established homes that have undergone substantial renovations before you bought the house
  • homes that have been moved from one site to another, as long as the home has not been occupied since being fixed to the new site (including kit homes, manufactured homes).

Citizenship

You must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident (or applying with someone who is).

If you are applying for the grant as a joint applicant—for example, you are not a permanent resident but your spouse is an Australian citizen—you may be eligible for the grant if you meet the other eligibility requirements.

A permanent resident holds a permanent visa, or is a New Zealand citizen with a special category visa, as defined by the Migration Act 1958 (Cwlth).

A New Zealand citizen with a special category visa must have a current New Zealand passport to be a permanent resident.

You can check if your visa is permanent or temporary by clicking on its subclass in the visa list.

Previous grant recipient

You or your spouse must not have previously received a first home owner grant in any state or territory of Australia. If you received a grant that you later paid back, together with any penalty, you may be able to reapply for the grant.

Previous home ownership

You or your spouse must not:

  • currently own property in Australia that you live in
  • have previously owned property in Australia that you lived in
  • have owned a home before 1 July 2000, whether you lived in it or not.

Investment properties

If you have owned an interest in residential property since 1 July 2000 that has been solely used for investment purposes, you may be eligible for the grant on a subsequent property.

You will need to show that you have not lived in the investment property by providing evidence that covers the entire period of ownership:

  • tenancy or lease agreements
  • electricity or phone accounts
  • tax return details declaring the rental property

Residence requirements

You must move into your brand new home as your principal place of residence within 1 year of the completed transaction, and live there continuously for 6 months.

You can rent out one or more rooms in the home during your 6-month residency period, as long as this arrangement doesn’t affect your use of the home. However, renting out any rooms in the first year after you move in may affect your eligibility for the first home concession or a first home vacant land concession.

While the residence requirements for the grant are similar to those for the first home concession, the grant and concession are separate benefits; you need to meet the requirements in each case. For example, you can rent the home out before moving in and keep the grant, but you may lose the first home concession.

You may be required to verify that you have met these requirements later, by providing documentation supporting the period of occupancy for all applicants.

Compare the requirements for first home concessions and the first home owner grant.

Disqualifying criteria

Even if you meet the eligibility criteria, there are some circumstances that may stop you from getting the grant. For example:

  • you are a trust or company (i.e. not an individual)
  • the new property (home and land) is valued at $750,000 or more
  • you enter into an arrangement to get the grant, but don’t use it to buy a new home
  • you held an interest in residential property before 1 July 2000, regardless of how the property was used
  • you buy or build your new home with financial help from a related person (who is not eligible for the grant) who will also stay in the home often, for long periods of time, or for genuine family reasons. (Money borrowed from a bank or lending institution is not considered to be financial help.)

If there is a disqualifying arrangement, we will not pay the grant. If the grant has already been paid, you will have to repay it.

In exceptional circumstances, the Commissioner of State Revenue may use discretion in relation to some eligibility criteria. For example, if you:

  • are under 18 years of age
  • move into the home after 1 year
  • live in the home for less than 6 months.

Understand your obligations

Anyone who will own any part of your new home must be included on the original application for a first home owner grant. You only need one application for your new home, regardless of the number of applicants, because one grant is payable per new home.

If you have a spouse, they must be included on the application—either as an applicant or non-applicant spouse.

You must submit the original application and it must be:

  • signed by all applicants
  • witnessed
  • completed in full
  • accompanied by supporting documentation (e.g. proof of identity, contract, final inspection certificate).

The application form has a checklist of what you need to supply.

Making sure you don’t lose the grant

To keep the grant, all applicants must meet these residence requirements:

  • move into home within 1 year of the completed eligible transaction
  • live in the home continuously for 6 months
  • tell us within 14 days if you are unable to move into your home or have to move out of your home before you have lived there for 6 continuous months.

Depending on your circumstances, you may have to pay back the grant because you are no longer eligible.

There are penalties if you don’t tell the Office of State Revenue within 14 days of finding out that you are unable to meet these conditions. Read the public ruling on penalty amounts (FHOGA047.1).

You may be required to verify that you have met these requirements later, by providing documentation supporting the period of occupancy for all applicants.

And while the residence requirements for the grant are similar to those for the transfer duty concessions, the grant and concessions are separate benefits—you need to meet the requirements in each case. For example, you can rent the home out before moving in and keep the grant, but you will lose the transfer duty concession.

Compare the requirements for first home concessions and the first home owner grant.

How and when to apply

You must apply for the grant within the following timeframes.

  • Buying your home
    You must apply within 1 year of taking possession of the new home and your title being registered.
  • Contract to build
    You must apply within 1 year of the new home being completed; for instance, the final inspection certificate being issued.
  • Owner–builder
    You must apply within 1 year of the new home being completed; for instance, the final inspection certificate being issued.

In some special cases, this period may be extended. If you are applying outside the application period, you need to include in your application a written statement explaining your circumstances.

Using the grant as a deposit

The grant is paid at different times depending on how and when you apply, and on the type of property that you are building or buying. For this reason, it’s best not to count on using the grant as a deposit.

You do not need a deposit to apply for the grant itself.

The grant is paid per new home and not to each of the applicants for the same home.

Ways to apply

There are two ways to submit an application for the Queensland First Home Owners’ Grant:

  • through an approved bank or lending institution
  • with the Office of State Revenue.

Applying through banks and lending institutions

If you need the grant funds for settlement or want to receive it as soon as possible, apply through an approved agent (e.g. bank or lending institution). Take your completed, original application form and all supporting documentation (which must include the signed contract to buy or build your first home, if applicable) to the agent to process the grant.

Your agent can also accept scanned applications, as long as these are:

  • complete
  • signed and witnessed
  • clearly legible.

They will confirm your eligibility and submit your application to the Office of State Revenue, who may contact you for more information.

There are penalties for giving false or misleading information.

Payment

If approved, the timeframe for payment is generally:

  • at settlement, for buying a home (including off-the-plan purchases)
  • on the first drawdown of funds, for contracts to build your home
  • on receipt of a final inspection certificate, for building your home as an owner–builder.

Applying to the Office of State Revenue

Post your completed, original application form and all supporting documentation (which must include the signed contract to buy or build your first home, if applicable) to:

Office of State Revenue
GPO Box 953
Brisbane Qld 4001

We will also accept scanned applications, as long as these are:

  • complete
  • signed and witnessed
  • clearly legible.

Email your application to fhogadmin@treasury.qld.gov.au.

Once your application is submitted, we will process most applications within 10 working days of receiving all the required information. (Avoid delays—make sure you provide supporting documentation by using the form’s checklist.) If you apply through an approved bank or financial institution, you may get the grant sooner.

We may contact you for more information to confirm your eligibility for the grant.

There are penalties for giving false or misleading information.

Payment

These are the general timeframes for payment for approved applications lodged directly with the Office of State Revenue.

Type of transactionPayment of grant made
Buying your home—off the planWhen you have a registration confirmation statement showing your name on the title of the property
Buying your home—instalment purchase contractsWhen all the following are fulfilled:

  • the contract has been operating for one year
  • you have paid at least 10% of the purchase price or $20,000, whichever is greater
  • you are not in default of the contract
  • you have occupied the home as your principal place of residence
Buying your home—vendor finance contractsWhen you own the home under the contract
Buying your home—all other contractsWhen you have a registration confirmation statement showing your name on the title of the property
Building your home—building contractWhen you have a final inspection certificate
Building your home—owner–builderWhen you have a final inspection certificate
Applying for a first home owner grant – QLD2020-07-31T11:25:08+10:00

Applying for a home loan: 9 tips to improve your chances

2020-07-31T11:16:33+10:00

The days of easy home loan applications are long gone. Now, lenders want to know exactly what you’re doing with your money to the last penny before considering you for such a loan.

Taking this into consideration, here are a few tips to help you improve your chances to get approved for a home loan.

1. Prune Your Expenses

Peter the Bookkeeping expert from Concept Bookkeeping tells us that, “If you want to improve your chances to get that loan, you need to revise and reconsider your regular expenses. Apparently, all those morning lattes and Afterpay purchases could have a negative impact on your chances to persuade banks to approve your loan application.” This means you should try to minimise all purchases that aren’t really necessary such as taking an Uber to go to work and shopping online rather than getting your groceries at Aldi. By spring cleaning your expenses, you’ll save money and you’ll look like a personal finance management master when lenders will see your bank statements.

2. Build A Solid Credit History To Prove You Are Able To Repay Your Loans

The first and foremost requirement you must meet to get a loan is to prove that you can repay it. Lenders don’t necessarily want to see written budgets and repayment schedules, but they will surely want to see your current living expenses and your financial commitments. If you want a home loan, you need to be ready to disclose lots of details regarding your personal finances, spending habits, and financial commitments.

3. Keep Tabs On Your Credit Card Limits

Credit card limits are important because they are the expression of how much you could potentially owe to banks and other financial institutions. This means that if you have a credit card with a limit of $10,000 but you either don’t use it or you make your repayments on time, the bank will assume that you owe the entire amount of your credit limit. As unfair as it may sound, this is the harsh reality. If you want to boost your chances of being approved for a home loan, it’s best to hold only one credit card with a not so high limit.

4. Put Your Career Changes On Hold

Banks want to see how good you are at keeping jobs. Your ability to make your loan repayments on time depends on your income. This is why lenders want to see some stability. They want to see a minimum of six months spent with the same employer (probation periods don’t count). Job hoppers aren’t the best clients and banks know this very well. They won’t be willing to take unnecessary risks, so chances are they will reject your application.

5. Start Saving

Lenders will love you if you can show them a solid history of saving and perhaps a fairly healthy deposit you’ve built over time. The general recommendation is that you save about 20% of what you earn. There is a reason for this. When you borrow more than 80% of the total value of your home, you’ll need to pay lenders mortgage insurance. As you can easily imagine, this insurance is meant to protect the lender, should you find yourself in the impossibility to meet your mortgage repayments. The bigger your deposit, the lower the value of your loan, and therefore the less LMI you’ll have to pay. This can make you the ideal borrower, a client all banks would be thrilled to work with.

6. Repay Your Outstanding Debt

The bigger your debt, the faster the lenders will run away from you. Before you even consider applying for a home loan, try to repay as much of your outstanding debt as you can.

7. Set Aside Enough To Feel Safe

Mark at Cheap Trees tells us, “Should your income stream stop at some point in time, you’ll be glad to have a safety net to make use of. Set some money aside to serve as a buffer for difficult moments in your professional life.

8. Don’t Send Too Many Simultaneous Applications

While comparing lenders is a good thing to do, submitting applications to multiple lenders is not. This will show up on your credit report. It may not affect your credit rating, but it won’t look good, particularly if you’ve already been denied more than once.

The team at Any Rubbish say’s, “The best way to proceed is to compare all your options, but only apply for the loan that best suits your needs.

9. Honesty Can Take You A Long Way

The SEO experts at Search It Local say, “Even if your financial situation is not the most brilliant of all, it’s best to disclose this fact from the very beginning. You can rest assured lenders know how to find out such things. If you lie and they catch you, they will decline your loan.

Applying for a home loan: 9 tips to improve your chances2020-07-31T11:16:33+10:00

HomeBuilder Grant

2020-07-31T07:39:33+10:00

HomeBuilder provides eligible owner occupiers with a grant of $25,000 to build a new home, substantially renovate an existing home or buy an off the plan home/new home. A new home is one that has not previously been sold or occupied as a place of residence, (e.g. spec build) and where construction commenced on or after 4 June 2020.

About HomeBuilder

On 4 June 2020 the Australian Government announced HomeBuilder to provide eligible owner-occupiers (including first home buyers) with a grant of $25,000 to build a new home, substantially renovate an existing home or buy an off the plan home/new home.

The eligible contract must be signed between 4 June 2020 and 31 December 2020 (inclusive). Construction need not commence prior to 31 December 2020, however, must commence within three months of the contract date. Further, construction cannot have commenced before 4 June 2020.

The Australian Government HomeBuilder Grant is subject to the provisions of the National Partnership Agreement between the New South Wales Government and Australian Government.

HomeBuilder compliments Revenue NSW existing First Home Owner’s Grant (New Home) Scheme and First Home Buyers Assistance Scheme.

HomeBuilder Applications

HomeBuilder applications are to be lodged via an online portal, which will be available on this webpage shortly.

The application form and lodgement guide are provided as a guide to assist in preparing your application for lodgement via the online portal.

Applications must be received by no later than 31 December 2020.

Applicant(s) can lodge their application in a multi-step process with the initial lodgement being after an eligible HomeBuilder contract has been entered into. Once commencement of construction and the payment eligibility requirements milestones have been met, any additional supporting documentation should be lodged via the online portal.

Eligibility criteria

HomeBuilder Grant2020-07-31T07:39:33+10:00
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