Generally, residential land occupied by the owner as their principal place of residence will be exempt from land tax. Following the death of the owner the criteria for exemption may no longer be met and the land may attract a land tax liability.
Where the estate is still to be finalised, relief may be available for the first financial year following the death of the owner where certain criteria are met.
Will the land be liable for land tax?
Land tax is levied each financial year based on the ownership as at midnight, 30 June, immediately prior to the financial year commencing.
If the land is in the ownership of the deceased, or their estate, on 30 June following their death, it may be liable for land tax for the following financial year.
Is relief from land tax available?
Relief may be available for the first financial year following the death of the owner where the home was the owner’s principal place of residence immediately prior to their death.
While there are no legislative provisions which provide an exemption in these circumstances, it is considered unfair that the estate of the deceased incur a land tax liability due to the time taken to finalise the estate. An ex gratia payment to cover any land tax payable on the land for the first full financial year following the death of the owner may be provided by the State Government.
What is a principal place of residence?
A principal place of residence is where the land (home):
- is the primary residence of the owner(s);
- is the owner(s) usual residence; (that is, where they undertake their normal living activities, such as eating and sleeping);
- is occupied on an ongoing basis, that is, occupation is not merely transitory or an intention to occupy; and
- has buildings which are predominately residential in nature.
What if the property is occupied by a beneficiary of the owner’s will?
If the property is occupied as the principal place of residence by at least one person entitled to ownership pursuant to the Will or under the laws of intestacy (a beneficial owner), a residential exemption may apply if all other criteria are met.
In this circumstance an application for a principal place of residence exemption needs to be completed and a copy of the Will and Grant of Probate provided.
What if the property has been rented?
The property must not generate any rental income between the owner’s death and the date the land is transferred or sold.
If the property has generated or will generate rental income, it will not be eligible for relief.
How do I apply for relief?
You can apply online. (Select Owner deceased as the property type option that best describes the use or circumstances of the land.)
Before you commence your application, you will need:
- Your ownership number. This can be found in the top right corner of your land tax or emergency services levy notice of assessment.
- The assessment number of the property. This can be found on your land tax or emergency services levy notice of assessment, water rates or council rates notice.
- Supporting documentation, such as a copy of:
- Death certificate of owner (for relief).
- Will and Grant of Probate (for a principal place of residence exemption).
Does the certificate of title need to be updated where an owner of the property dies?
If one of the owners of a property dies the certificate of title needs to be updated to reflect this.