Budget repair measure exceeds expectations

  • Foreign Buyers Surcharge raises over $19 million in its first full year
  • Nearly 550 transactions were assessed for the surcharge
  • Surcharge pays for the freeze on TAFE fees and contributes towards Budget repair
  • In February 2020 the Liberal Party announced they would scrap the surcharge
  • In its first full year, the Foreign Buyers Surcharge introduced by the McGowan Labor Government as a Budget repair measure has raised over $19 million.

    The surcharge, which is used to pay for a freeze on TAFE fees, was applied to nearly 550 transactions and exceeded the 2019-20 revenue estimate.

    The seven per cent surcharge applies to all purchases of residential property in Western Australia by foreigners, including individuals, corporations and trusts.  The surcharge is on top of the normal transfer duty payable on property purchases.

    The surcharge does not apply to purchases of commercial or industrial property, nor does it apply to residential developments of 10 or more properties, commercial residential property such as hotels, student accommodation and retirement villages, or mixed use properties that are used primarily for commercial purposes.

    The seven per cent rate is consistent with the rate applied in Queensland and South Australia and is lower than the rates applied in New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania.

    In Parliament earlier this year the Liberal Party confirmed it would remove the McGowan Government’s surcharge on foreign buyers of residential property in WA, costing WA taxpayers $70 million.

    As stated by Finance Minister Ben Wyatt:

    “The surcharge delivers on a McGowan Labor Government election commitment to repair State finances.

    “The surcharge has raised over $19 million in 2019-20 to assist in funding a freeze on TAFE fees that were increased under the previous Liberal National Government.

    “This is a significant outcome for all Western Australians and highlights the small proportion of foreign investors in the local housing market are prepared to pay their share to benefit from Western Australia’s services and infrastructure.

    “Given the first full year results of this surcharge and the significant amount of money it raises for WA taxpayers, it’s utterly ridiculous that the Liberal Party wants to scrap it.”

    Finance Minister’s office – 6552 5900

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