19th Dec, 2022
In a bid to encourage home ownership in NSW, the state government has introduced the First Home Buyer Choice scheme, which allows eligible first home buyers a choice between paying an annual property tax or the traditional stamp duty. Eligible first home buyers of residential properties valued at up to $1.5 million or vacant land of up to $800,000 will be able to access the scheme, provided other conditions are met.
Eligible buyers can access the scheme from 12 November 2022. These buyers are required to pay stamp duty on purchases made until 15 January 2023, but will be able to apply for a refund of their stamp duty if they choose to opt into the annual fee. From 16 January 2023, purchasers can opt in to the annual fee directly.
As its name suggests, the First Home Buyer Choice scheme is only available to individual first home buyers over 18 years of age who haven’t previously owned residential land in Australia. For individuals with a spouse, it’s also a requirement that the spouse has not at any time owned residential land in Australia. Generally, occupation of the property must occur within 12 months of the first home buyer taking possession and must continue for at least six months.
If the option to pay the annual property tax is elected by the eligible individual, the rate of tax will differ depending on whether the property is owner-occupied or used as an investment after the initial six months occupation requirement. For owner-occupiers, the property tax rates per annum will be $400 plus 0.3% of the home’s land value.
In cases where the property is rented out, the property tax rates per annum will be $1,500 plus 1.1% of land value. While the NSW government has committed to not increasing these rates for the first two financial years of operation, from the 2024–2025 financial year property tax rates will be indexed each year, capped at a 4% maximum.
16th Dec, 2021
Recently, a number of significant superannuation changes were proposed in Parliament as a part of the government’s plan to enhance super outcomes for Australians.
Currently, individuals aged between 67 and 75 either need to pass the “work test” or satisfy the work test exemption criteria if they want to make non-concessional and salary sacrifice contributions to their super. The amendments would allow individuals aged between 67 and 75 to make certain non-concessional contributions and salary sacrifice contributions without meeting the work test. Also, individuals aged under 75 could access bring-forward non-concessional contributions.
Current downsizer contribution measures allow individuals aged 65 or over to make a contribution into super of up to $300,000 from the proceeds of selling their home. The government is seeking to reduce the lower eligibility age to 60.
The First Home Super Saver Scheme was designed to help first home buyers save for a deposit by allowing them to make voluntary concessional and non-concessional contributions into super, and later withdraw those eligible contributions and associated earnings to purchase a home.
Currently, the maximum amount releasable from super is $30,000. The proposed changes would increase that maximum to $50,000, although the amount of voluntary contributions eligible to be released in any single financial year would not change from $15,000.
Currently, an employer does not have to pay super guarantee for an employee who earns less than $450 in a calendar month with that employer. This threshold was originally introduced to minimise employers’ administrative burden. However, with the technological advancement of single touch payroll (STP), the government no longer sees a need for the threshold, which is increasingly affecting young, lower-income, part-time and female workers, and has proposed removing it, so that employers must pay super guarantee to all employees.