If you own and live in your home on a permanent basis, you may be eligible for a principal place of residence exemption from land tax.

What is a principal place of residence?

A principal place of residence is where the property (home):

  • is the primary residence of the owner(s);
  • is the owner(s) usual residence (that is, where they perform their normal living activities such as eating and sleeping); and
  • is occupied on an ongoing basis (that is, occupation is not merely transitory or an intention to occupy).

What types of buildings must be on the land?

Buildings on the land must be predominately residential in character.

The design, use and functionality of a building will determine if the building is residential in character. Caravans and tents are not considered to be buildings for the purposes of this exemption.

Can I have an exemption on more than one property?

A person can only have one principal place of residence.

If you own multiple properties and live in more than one of them, you are generally only eligible for one exemption on the property deemed to be your principal place of residence.

Example 1

Lisa owns a home and a holiday house. She lives in the home as her primary residence and uses her holiday home regularly.

Assuming all exemption criteria are met, an exemption may apply on Lisa’s home as it is her principal place of residence. Her holiday house may be subject to land tax.


However there are some exceptions to this rule which are explained later on this page.

When must I be living in the property?

Land tax is based on the ownership and usage of the land as at midnight, 30 June, immediately prior to the financial year commencing.

Generally, you must be living in the home on the land as your principal place of residence on 30 June. As previously mentioned, occupation must be on an ongoing basis, temporarily residing in the property on 30 June will not meet the exemption criteria.

There are some exceptions to this date which are explained later on this page.

What if only one of the owners lives in the property?

Where a property is owned by two or more persons, only one of them is required to be living in the property as their principal place of residence.


Example 2

Megan and Sara are sisters who are the joint owners of a home. Megan lives in the home as her principal place of residence, while Sara lives elsewhere.

Assuming all exemption criteria are met, an exemption may apply, as the home is occupied by at least one of the owners as their principal place of residence.


Can joint owners have an exemption on more than one property?

In some circumstances, you may own an interest in more than one property jointly with another person(s).

In some cases you may receive the benefit of more than one exemption but only where the criteria for the exemption is met for each of those properties (that is, it must be the principal place of residence of an owner of the land). However just because 2 joint owners own two properties together does not mean they are eligible for an exemption on both. Exemption criteria must be met.

You cannot receive multiple exemptions on the basis that you live in both properties, as a person can only have one principal place of residence.


Example 3

Megan and Sara are sisters who own 2 homes together. Megan lives in one home as her principal place of residence and Sara lives in the other as her principal place of residence.

Assuming all exemption criteria are met, an exemption may apply on both properties, as they are each occupied by at least one owner as their principal place of residence.


Example 4

Deb and Terry are married and own a home and a holiday house together. They live in the home as their principal place of residence, and use their holiday home regularly.

Assuming all exemption criteria are met, an exemption may apply on their home as it is the principal place of residence of both of the owners. The holiday house may be subject to land tax.


What if I have purchased a new home, but still own my previous home?

If you have purchased a new home, and are in the process of selling your previous home, you may be eligible for:

  • an exemption from land tax on the property you lived in on 30 June; and
  • a waiver of the land tax payable for the other property, where certain criteria are satisfied.

Ordinarily you would only meet the eligibility criteria for an exemption on one property (that is, the property you are living in on 30 June) and the other may be liable for land tax. However, the other property may be eligible to receive a waiver of the land tax payable in the following circumstances:

Where you moved into your new home partway through a financial year;

You may be eligible for a waiver if:

  • your previous principal place of residence
    • (if you owned it) is sold within that financial year.
    • has not been rented at any time between the date you moved out and the date it is sold; and
  • your new principal place of residence has not been rented at any time during the financial year

If eligible, your previous principal place of residence will continue to receive an exemption from land tax for the relevant financial year and your new principal place of residence will receive a waiver of the land tax payable for that financial year.

Where you lived in your new home at the beginning of a financial year, but have not yet sold your previous home;

You may be eligible for a waiver if your previous principal place of residence:

  • (if you owned it) is sold in the relevant financial year; and
  • is not rented at any time between the date you moved out and the date it is sold.

If eligible, for the financial year in which it applied, you will receive a waiver of land tax on your previous principal place of residence and an exemption on your new principal place of residence. The exemption on your new principal place of residence will remain for future financial years if exemption criteria is maintained.


Example 5

Deb and Terry are married and own a home which they live in as their principle place of residence.

In January, they purchase a new home and place their existing home on the market to sell. Following the sale of their previous home in September, they move into the new home as their principal place of residence.

As result they own 2 properties as at the 30th June.

Assuming all exemption criteria are met, an exemption may apply on their existing home as it is the principal place of residence of both of the owners as at the 30th June. Their new home may be eligible for a waiver for the financial year that they owned both properties, and will change to an exemption for the following financial year.


I paid land tax at settlement, can I get a refund?

If you have purchased a home, which was taxable in the ownership of the previous owner, you may have paid land tax at property settlement.

If you have, you may be eligible for a refund of any land tax you paid at settlement, if:

  • the land has or will become your principal place of residence;
  • you have not rented any part of the land between the date of settlement and the date you move in; and
  • if you owned your previous principal place of residence, you sell that property before the end of the relevant financial year.

As part of the application process for an exemption, you will need to supply a copy of your settlement statement showing the land tax paid.

Can the exemption extend to occupiers that are not the owner of the home?

An exemption may extend to situations where the occupier of the property is not the owner registered on the Certificate of Title. This includes where the home is:

  • Owned by the estate of a deceased person and 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). Generally, RevenueSA recognises occupation by an owner where the property is occupied by the following people:
Until the date of the deceased’s death
  • (deceased) owner
From the date of death until the date probate is granted
  • executor of the deceased’s estate
From the date probate is granted onwards
  • executor
  • beneficiary of the land in the deceased’s Will
  • Owned by the trustee of a Special Disability Trust and occupied by the primary beneficiary of the trust as their principal place of residence.
  • Owned by a home unit company and occupied by a shareholder (in their allocated unit) as their principal place of residence.
  • Occupied by the holder of a life interest (not being a lessee) as their principal place of residence.

All other exemption criteria must apply.

Can a company receive an exemption?

To be eligible for an exemption the property must be owned by a natural person.

If the property is owned by a company, an exemption cannot apply, even where the property is occupied by a director of the owner company.

If the property is jointly owned by a natural person and a company, an exemption may apply if the natural person lives in the home as their principal place of residence and all other criteria are met. However, if the natural person holds a minor interest in the land:

  • of 5% or less; or
  • between 5% and 50% and the Commissioner of State Taxation has disregarded their interest;

they will not be eligible for an exemption.

Can I use any portion of the land for business or commercial purposes?

An exemption may apply depending on how much of the total floor area of all buildings (including sheds, garages etc.) on the property is used for business or commercial purposes (other than the business of primary production).

  • If less than 25% is used, a full exemption will apply.
  • If between 25% and 75% is used, a partial exemption will apply.
  • If more than 75% is used, no exemption is available.

Where between 25% and 75% of the total floor area of buildings (including sheds, garages etc.) on the property is used for business or commercial purposes (other than the business of primary production), the land may be partially exempt in accordance with the following scale:

Area used for business or commercial purposes
% of the total floor area of all buildings on the land
% reduction in taxable
value for land tax
more than 75% Nil (no exemption)
75% 25%
70% or more but less than 75% 30%
65% or more but less than 70% 35%
60% or more but less than 65% 40%
55% or more but less than 60% 45%
50% or more but less than 55% 50%
45% or more but less than 50% 55%
40% or more but less than 45% 60%
35% or more but less than 40% 65%
30% or more but less than 35% 70%
25% or more but less than 30% 75%
less than 25% 100% (full exemption)

Can I use any portion of the land as a motel, hotel, serviced apartments or other similar accommodation?

If you live in the property as your primary residence and also use a portion of the property as a hotel, motel, group of serviced holiday apartments or other similar accommodation, that land may be eligible for a full or partial exemption. The percentage of the buildings on the property used as a hotel, motel or group of serviced holiday apartments will be taken to be the area used for business or commercial purposes.

The scales above apply.

How do I apply for an exemption/relief?

You can apply online. (Select Principal place of residence as the property type option that best describes the use or circumstances of the property.)

Before you commence your application, you will need:

  • Your ownership number. This can be found in the top right corner of your Land Tax Assessment or Emergency Services Levy Notice of Assessment.
  • The assessment number of the property. This can be found on your Land Tax Assessment or Emergency Services Levy Notice of Assessment, water rates or council rates notice.
  • Information such as:
    • Date you moved into the property.
    • Date of settlement.
  • Supporting documentation, such as a copy of:
    • Schedule 19A – Statement of Compliance (for newly built homes).
    • Will (and grant of probate) or trust documents (where property is occupied by a beneficiary).
  • Settlement statement (when applying for a refund of land tax paid at settlement).