Are you a New Zealander buying property in Australia?

Great! We all know tax can be a bit confusing, especially when you are dealing with another countries’ tax obligations. That’s why we put together this handy guide that all New Zealanders buying property in Australia should know!

Information you will find in this post:

What should I know about when buying a property in Australia?

First things first. As a New Zealander, you are classed as a ‘temporary resident’ for tax purposes in Australia.

This will however depend on your own personal situation, for example if you are residing in Australia or New Zealand at the time of purchase.

When buying a property in Australia it’s also essential to have your own Tax File Number or TFN in order to link any tax deduction to your personal reference number in the ATO (Australian Tax Office).  Our partners at Taxback.com can help you apply for TFN for FREE and you simply need to register and follow these steps here.

Please also have in mind that to apply for a TFN you need to be present in Australia and it normally takes 28 days for the Tax office to process the application and issue your number. 

The purchasing process in Australia

When you are buying a home in Australia, you should always:

  • Search for a home that matches your criteria of what you want and need
  • Assess how much you are willing to pay for the property
  • Make a proposal to the agent/vendor
  • Apply for a mortgage, if needed
  • Appoint a surveyor – these can help carry out vital checks on the property
  • Pay a deposit – usually 10% – and draw up and sign an agreement
  • Completion – once all paper work and legal documentation has been signed off

With legal fees of 1% to 2% also needed, it’s worth budgeting for 5% to 8% of the property’s purchase price to cover all costs. 

Australia’s Property Taxes

There are numerous different taxes as well as Stamp Duty you should know about before buying Australian property.

Here’s two you should always consider:

Stamp duty: This is essentially tax that gets added to any purchase price. Rates for stamp duty are applied on a scale of 1% to 6.75% – based on the value of property as well as the state the property is located in. This Stamp Duty Calculator can help you figure out the potential amount of tax you will pay on the property.

You may be eligible for a reduction if you are part of the First Home Owners Scheme (see below).

You also need to be in Australia at the time you sign the contract and on settlement day.

Capital Gains Tax: If you don’t own a home in New Zealand, or if you sold it before you moved over the ditch, you don’t need to worry about this. But if you rent out your home in NZ or sell it while you’re in Australia, you will likely need to pay Capital Gains Tax.

It’s a good idea to seek help from a professional accountant to make sure that you are compliant with your property taxes in Australia. 

Will I be affected by Stamp Duty when buying a property in Australia?

That depends. A lot of New Zealanders who enter Australia are on a Special Category Visa (subclass 444).

If you are on this visa then you will not be required to pay Stamp Duty surcharge which is normally required for nearly all territories in Australia.

That is except for New South Wales, where you’ll need to be for at least 200 days before you can avoid this fee.

You’ll also need to be in the country when you sign the contract in order to avoid the stamp duty charge. 

Can I get the First Home Owners Grant in Australia?

Looking to buy your first home in Australia but confused if you can apply for the First Home Owners Grant (FHOG)?

The FHOG was brought in in order to encourage home ownership. New Zealanders are typically considered residents of Australia and as such they may be eligible for the grant.

Can I get a property loan in Australia as a New Zealander?

Yes! However, the amount you can get depends on some personal circumstances.

For example, if you are a New Zealander living in Australia, you can get a loan of up to 95% of the property value.

However, if you are a New Zealander still living in New Zealand but looking to buy an Australian property, you can only get a loan up to 75% of the value.

You can claim the interest that is charged on your home loan as a deduction when you are filing your tax return. This will only be relevant to you if you are using the property to earn income by renting it out.

However, if the property is being used to produce income, you will be able to claim some tax deductions. 

Who can help me filing my property taxes?

It is necessary to keep records for all of the transaction, fees, expenses related to the property – these will help you filing your tax return.

You could always file by yourself. However, this is often seen as tricky, especially if they are new to the process.

That’s why getting a tax agent like Taxback.com to do all the boring paperwork for you makes so much sense!

Get started now!

Still got questions?

If you haven’t already read the below posts you should and/or you can ask questions in the comment section below and we will get back to you:

12 Comments

  1. mark Johnston

    April 30, 2022 at 10:25 pm

    Hi my wife and I would like to purchase a unit in Queensland. We are cash buyers up to 620 aus dollars. We own a home in nz and are nz citizens. What are the stamp duty and do we have to pay any other taxes on a purchase. Re mark

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      May 13, 2022 at 2:37 pm

      Hi Mark,
      Thanks for your comment and sorry for the delay in replying.
      Here is a stamp duty calculator that will help you calculate how much you’ll need to pay in stamp duty: https://conveyancing.com.au/tools/stamp-duty-calculator-qld.
      Please note, NZ citizens are not foreign purchasers, we are considered citizens when buying property in Australia.
      As you purchase price is above $550,000 you won’t be eligible for a QLD First Home Buyers Stamp Duty Concession:
      Once the purchase price is $550,000 or higher, the first home buyer Concession cuts out so you’ll be charged the same stamp duty as you would if you were buying a home as a normal owner-occupier.
      The other tax you will need to pay is Land Tax.
      Land Tax is calculated at midnight on June 30 every year. Your tax rate will all depend on what type of owner you are, the total value of the land, and whether you qualify for any exemptions.
      If you sell your NZ property while living in Australia, you may have to pay Capital Gains Tax (CGT) when you sell the asset: https://www.movingtoaustralia.co.nz/buying-a-house-in-australia/#CapitalGainsTax.
      Please feel free to email me back any further questions you have.

      Reply
  2. Sunny

    April 19, 2022 at 2:32 am

    Hi
    If you are a NZ citizen and have properties in NZ that are on rent and you are moving to Australia, and want to buy a first home in Australia. Would you qualify for a first home buyer grant? Would you have to pay stamp duty or would you be eligible for a waiver?

    Reply
  3. Marie Peti

    April 1, 2022 at 12:19 pm

    Hi I am buying a property in Queensland for the first time I’m living here but I am being charged stamp duty can you clarify this for me because above you mentioned that scv holders aren’t charged stamp duty thanks

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      April 11, 2022 at 9:09 pm

      Hi Marie,
      Thanks for your comment.
      I’m going to need some specifics if you want me to look into for you, e.g. is it your first home, what is the purchase price, have you already got a mortgage for the purchase (as your mortgage broker/bank should be able to help you with this).
      The QLD Stamp Duty Concession (or Rebate) is where a First Home Buyer can save up too $8,750 in buying costs, when purchasing their first home Queensland (couldn’t have owned a home in NZ either).
      It is available when buying an established home valued at under $550,000, or, a block of land valued at under $400,000.
      One you’ve provided the above I can help you.
      Thanks

      Reply
  4. Diana Mills

    March 30, 2022 at 8:22 am

    can Tax.com be trusted with personal information

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      March 31, 2022 at 12:19 am

      Hi Diana,
      Thank you for your comment.
      Yes you can trust TaxBack.com with personal information.
      Are you weighing up whether to use their TFN service? It will save you time and paperwork.
      Please feel free to email me back any further questions you have.
      Good luck with your move.

      Reply
  5. Gerald

    February 20, 2022 at 3:38 am

    Hi Team

    If we have Permanent residents in nz can we buy a house cash and when we get nz citizenship move over and either work or buy a business in Australia ?

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      February 21, 2022 at 1:33 am

      Hi Gerald,
      Thank you for your comment.
      Unfortunately I am not a lawyer or mortgage broker, so can only help you with what I’ve managed to find online.
      I do know the rules and costs are different if you are living in Australia or not, NZ permanent resident or NZ citizen. For example you might have to get approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) before they can buy a property if you are not a NZ citizen, and pay additional stamp duty if you are not in Australia.
      Here is what I’ve found online for New Zealand Permanent Residents buying in Australia:
      New Zealand and Australian citizens are able to buy residential property in Australia irrespective of where they live (Australia or NZ). Holders of New Zealand permanent resident visas will also be able to buy residential property if they have been living in Australia for at least 12 months, and have been present in the country for at least 183 days in the past 12 months.
      Those on temporary visas (e.g. student visa, work visa or visitor visas) would not be able to buy a house to live in and it’s important to clarify the differences between resident and permanent resident visas, as only permanent resident visa holders will be able to buy property.
      Source: https://www.lawlink.co.nz/article/potential-changes-to-home-buying-for-foreign-buyers/.
      Have a read of this post by Wealth Ladder, which covers everything regarding ‘Can New Zealanders Buy Property in Australia?’. Wealth Ladder are a NZ based property investment company: https://wealthladder.co.nz/can-new-zealanders-buy-property-in-australia/.
      For foreign investors, Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) approval is mandatory, however the rule doesn’t apply to New Zealand citizens who’ve been to Australia at least once. If you’re a citizen of New Zealand, you’ll receive a Subclass 444 visa upon your arrival to Australia. The visa grants you permanent resident status here, so you can buy properties much like Australian citizens.
      The rules are different if you’re not a citizen of either Australia or New Zealand. If you’re a permanent resident of New Zealand but not a citizen, you will need to have FIRB approval.
      Source: https://unohomeloans.com.au/home-loans-citizens-new-zealand/.
      I recommend you contact UNO Home Loans. They know all the rules for New Zealanders purchasing in Australia and will be able to help you with your specific circumstances: https://unohomeloans.com.au/.
      Please feel free to email me back any further questions you have.
      Good luck.

      Reply
  6. Linda

    October 10, 2021 at 10:00 am

    I am N Z citizen living in NZ and want to purchase a property in WA. Am I a foreign investor? I will renting the property out. I can’t fly over to sign contract because covid restrictions . Can still purchase the property if I can’t get there? I am cash buyer so don’t need a loan.

    Reply
    • JJ Smith

      October 19, 2021 at 9:45 pm

      Hi Linda,
      Thank you for your comment and sorry for the delay in replying.
      You can purchase a property in Australia from NZ, however I can’t find the process of how it works. Everyone I know who owns property in Australia went over to sign the contract and moved into the property rather than rent it.
      I’m not even sure if you are a foreign investor as you aren’t going through border control to get automatically given an SCV.
      You are going to have to get advice from your solicitor and go from there.
      This is good article to read about investing in Australia: https://wealthladder.co.nz/can-new-zealanders-buy-property-in-australia/.
      If you don’t currently have a solicitor then Wealth Ladder should be able to advise how the buying process will work from NZ and help you with it: https://wealthladder.co.nz/.
      Please make sure you read this post on foreign exchange so you get the best exchange rate and don’t pay extra costs: https://www.movingtoaustralia.co.nz/foreign-exchange-money-transfer/.
      Please feel free to email me back any further questions you have.
      Good luck with your move.

      Reply

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