21 Dec NSW first home buyers: choice of tax
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.
Tip: A first home buyer choice calculator is available on the Service NSW website at www.service.nsw.gov.au/transaction/calculate-your-property-tax.