Property taxes, known as council rates in Australia, are levied by local governments on all residential and commercial properties. While these rates are mandatory for all landowners, certain exemptions may be available to reduce your property tax burden.
Below is an overview of some of the more common property tax exemptions in Australia and who may qualify:
Pensioners in Australia may be eligible for a subsidy or reduction on their council rates. The exact details vary by state, but generally pensioners can receive discounts of up to 50% off their property valuation for calculating rates. This can add up to hundreds of dollars in annual savings.
To qualify, you must hold an eligible pensioner concession card such as an Age Pension, Disability Support Pension, or DVA Gold Card. You must also be living at the property as your sole or principal place of residence.
First Home Owner Grant
First home buyers may qualify for a full exemption from paying council rates for a period of time after purchasing their first home. In NSW, first home owners are exempt from rates for 12 months after settlement. Other states have similar concessions lasting around 1-2 years.
This exemption only applies to first home owners moving into a newly purchased property as their principal place of residence. Investment properties owned by first home buyers do not qualify.
Properties owned by certain non-profit organisations and charities may qualify for reduced rates or full exemptions. This applies to land used for charitable purposes like shelters, low-cost housing, places of worship, and more.
The organisation must be registered as a charity and provide evidence the property is used for charitable works. Exemptions for religious and educational institutions also exist in some council areas.
Primary Production Land
Rural land used commercially for farming, agriculture, or primary production may receive a rates discount. The property must be zoned for this purpose and actually used for growing crops, grazing livestock, etc.
The exact concessions vary by state and council. But rural landowners can potentially have a portion of their land value excluded from rate calculations.
Ratepayers facing financial difficulties may apply for council rate relief due to hardship. This usually involves a deferral or temporary reduction in rates owed.
Evidence of hardship will need to be provided, like loss of employment, disability, death of a spouse, or other unforeseen circumstances. Provisions vary widely across councils.
Checking if you qualify for any property tax exemptions or concessions can help ease the financial burden for eligible Australian homeowners and landowners. Every deduction on your rates notice helps.