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Treasury decision ‘squares up’ tax deal favouring foreign land owners

by Beef Central, 04 April 2018

AUSTRALIAN-owned farm businesses stand to benefit from changes designed to close a tax loophole currently available only to foreign investors buying up agricultural land.

Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources David Littleproud welcomed changes announced by the Treasurer last week to exclude agricultural land from being an eligible investment business and attracting a lower tax rate.

Agriculture minister David Littleproud

“The current state of play provides foreigners with a competitive advantage over domestic investors when purchasing agricultural land,” Minister Littleproud said.

“The Government wants to ensure purity of market and a level playing field for Australian investors, so we’re making changes,” he said.

Foreign investors currently have access to tax concessions, which means they pay less tax than domestic investors on their investment in agricultural land – around 15 percent (or less) compared to Australian investors who pay tax at their marginal rates (up to 47 percent currently).

“The concessions are possible through the use of managed investment trusts that lease-out farming land. Increasingly, complex arrangements called ‘stapled structures’ have been adopted, which allow taxpayers to own and run a farm and still achieve a lower tax rate of 15 percent,” Mr Littleproud said. 

This could distort investment decisions and encourage higher foreign ownership of agricultural land, he said.

“Where possible we want to encourage Australian ownership of Aussie farmland and ensure fairness for domestic investors who pay a higher rate of taxation on agricultural land purchases.”

The changes will take effect from 1 July 2019.


Source: DAWR

Reader's Comments

  • Ron Shaw April 5, 2018

    Bloody hell, I wonder how many other Australians like me, were totally unaware of this distorted practise of advantaging foreign buyers ahead of Australian investors!!

  • Val Dyer April 5, 2018

    Ditto Ron, wondering which tax ? Capital gains, operating profit taxes , GST or other, Beef Central can you clarify?

    Cheers Val – we’ll make some inquiries within government, and report back via this comment thread. Editor

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