The Queensland Government has announced significant land tax relief measure to assist land tax payers in getting through this unprecedented crisis. The measures apply to land tax assessments for the current 2019/20 land tax year. Many of these land tax assessments have already issued.
The measures are:
- A waiver of the 2% foreign surcharge for foreign entities. If you are already registered as a foreign entity, this waiver will occur automatically. If you are a foreign entity and not already registered, you should register as soon as possible as the waiver may not apply if you are found to be liable in later years;
- A 3-month deferral of land tax liabilities for the 2020/21 land tax year; and
- A 25% land tax rebate for eligible landlords. This rebate applies to both commercial and residential
In order to be eligible as a commercial landlord you must:
- Negotiate in good faith with your tenant to seek a mutually agreeable resolution if their ability to pay is impacted by COVID-19;
- Not evict your tenant if they are in financial distress and unable to meet their commitments due to the impact of COVID-19;
- Not increase rent, except where rent is linked to turnover;
- Will not penalise a tenant who stops trading or reduces opening hours;
- Not charge any interest on unpaid or deferred rent; and
- Not make a claim on a bank guarantee or security deposit for non-payment of rent.
In order to be eligible as a residential landlord you must:
- Negotiate in good faith with your tenant if their ability to pay rent is impacted by COVID-19;
- Not evict your tenant if they are in financial distress because of COVID-19;
- Not end a tenancy for any reason other than on an approved ground; this does not include the tenant’s inability to pay rent or the end of a fixed-term lease;
- Not charge break lease fees for tenants who need to end a fixed-term tenancy early due to the financial, health or personal safety impacts of COVID-19; and
- Allow a tenant to refuse entry for non-essential reasons, including routine repairs and inspections, particularly if a member of the household has a higher risk profile if exposed to COVID-19.
These criteria are in addition to the Commonwealth mandatory code of conduct for small and medium enterprise commercial tenancies.
Please contact our tax team or property team members if you want further information or help with your eligibility for these benefits.
This article was contributed by John Caravousanos, Partner – HWL Ebsworth Lawyers.