Hundreds of foreign nationals have been found to be in breach of property ownership rules and have been forced to sell millions of dollars’ worth of assets, in a high-profile and ongoing crackdown by the tax office.
ATO property swoop bears fruit
The ATO in recent months detected approximately 570 foreign nationals who have breached Australian property ownership rules, resulting in forced sales, self-disposals, variations to previously approved Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) approval applications and retrospective approvals with strict conditions.
The tax office identified breaches through both data-matching programs and information volunteered by the public, according to the office of federal Treasurer Scott Morrison.
The latest crackdown has seen the government order 15 Australian residential properties held by foreign nationals to be sold, taking the total number of forced sales to 61, with a combined value of $107 million.
These latest properties are located in Victoria and Queensland, with a combined purchase price of more than $14 million.
Overall, the ATO issued 388 penalty notices to foreign nationals in breach of the rules, attracting penalties in excess of $2 million.
Penalty notices were issued to people who failed to obtain FIRB approval before buying property and for breaching a condition of previously approved applications.
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