Australia: Queensland land tax changes


  • Anyone who owns, buys or leases land in Queensland.


  • Land tax changes may increase the land tax assessed on land that you own, or the amount you are required to pay under a contract or lease.


  • If you own land in Queensland – determine if you are foreign and if so, seek advice on the land tax implications;
  • If you are a buyer of land under a contract – ensure that you will not be liable for additional land tax if the seller is foreign; and
  • If you are a tenant – review the terms of your lease to ensure you are not paying more because your landlord is foreign.

The government announced a number of State tax measures in their budget on 11 June 2019. These were swiftly introduced into law with the relevant legislation passing on 17 June 2019. One of these measures was an amendment to the land tax rules, which came into effect almost immediately (i.e. the changes applied to land owned as at midnight on 30 June 2019), giving landowners, buyers and tenants little time to plan appropriately.

Firstly, the land tax rates for companies and trusts with aggregate landholdings of $5 million or more were increased by:

  • 0.25 cents to 2.25 cents for each dollar above $5 million; and
  • 0.25 cents to 2.75 cents for each dollar above $10 million.

This follows the introduction last year of the new higher rate of land tax of 2.5% for landholdings over $10 million.

Of even greater impact is the introduction of a new 2% land tax surcharge on foreign companies and trusts.

Foreign company or unit trust – A company or unit trust will be 'foreign' if foreign persons hold an interest (together with associates) of 50% or more.

Foreign discretionary trust – A discretionary trust will be foreign if the default beneficiaries that are entitled to a distribution of 50% or more of the income or capital of the trust are foreign persons.

Absentee individual – an absentee individual is also subject to the land tax surcharge (although this is not a new rule – the surcharge for absentee individuals has increased from 1.5% to 2%). A person is an absentee if they are not ordinarily resident in Australia, but the recent changes to the rules now ensure that Australian citizens and permanent resident visa holders are not absentees for land tax purposes.

When you get down to the numbers, this can have potentially significant impacts on the holding costs associated with property in Queensland – for example, a foreign company with aggregate landholdings having an unimproved value of $20 million could see an increase in land tax of over $480,000 per annum.

Following these changes, it is more important than ever to ensure that the ownership structure is properly identified so that the appropriate amount of land tax is being paid.

For buyers and tenants, any contract or lease for property in Queensland should appropriately address liability for land tax, particularly where the landholder is foreign (or suspected to be). In contracts for sale, the contract typically (except in residential sales) requires an adjustment at settlement for land tax. In leases, land tax may form part of the outgoings that are recoverable from a tenant (except in residential or retail leases). It is open to the parties to negotiate how land tax liability will be apportioned, which could be:

  • not adjusting or re-allocating land tax liability at all (more common in residential property sales, and mandated in retail leases – this favours the buyer or tenant);
  • on the amount actually assessed, including any surcharge (this favours the seller or landlord); or
  • on some notional or deemed assessment, which could be determined based on some combination of the below criteria (each of which favours the buyer or tenant):
    • as if the seller or landlord was a natural person (reducing the rates to the individual rates);
    • as if the seller or landlord was resident in Queensland (avoiding any absentee surcharge); and
    • as if the land was the seller or landlord's only land (avoiding aggregation).

The Office of State Revenue (OSR) is currently contacting all landholders asking that they confirm their status (i.e. whether they are foreign or not). It is important to ensure that this question is answered correctly, as it could have significant implications.

It is also interesting to note that the OSR is still trying to finalise its guidance on what circumstances (if any) will qualify for relief from these surcharges. It is expected that any concessions will take the form of ex gratia relief (similar to the process introduced for additional foreign acquirer duty) however, no details are currently available.

Given this uncertainty about possible concessions, the OSR is currently delaying issuing assessments to foreign companies and trusts, while it finalises its position internally. While this has generally been welcomed by the industry, one side effect is that it will not be possible currently to definitively determine the total land tax if an adjustment under a purchase contract is being completed based on the assessed amount inclusive of surcharge. Where a contract is due to settle soon (or before the OSR issues those assessments), alternative arrangements such as retentions may need to be set up to cater for potential liability.

Parties currently negotiating contracts or leases should give very careful consideration to how the land tax adjustments or allocation are intended to operate and ensure that the documents reflect that. If you are a party to an existing contract or lease, you should review the relevant adjustment or outgoings clauses to ensure that they operate appropriately (or look to renegotiate the terms, if there is scope to do so).

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions