The Coalition Government’s robust new foreign investment regime has come into force on December 1, providing stronger enforcement and a better resourced system with clearer rules for foreign investors.
Federal Member for Forde, Bert van Manen MP said foreign investment rules needed to be strong, effective and enforceable.
“The changes taking effect provide greater compliance powers to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and introduce strict new penalties for those caught breaking the rules,” Mr van Manen said.
“Foreign investors who have breached the residential real estate rules had until November 30 to voluntarily come forward under the reduced penalty period and from December 1, any investor caught in a breach of the rules will face severe penalties.”
Mr van Manen said the ATO had taken over full responsibility for enforcing residential real estate purchases by foreign citizens and existing criminal penalties had been increased to $135,000 or three years’ imprisonment or both for individuals, and up to $675,000 for companies.
“New civil penalties ensuring people don’t profit from breaking the rules also came into effect on December 1.
“These include forfeiting any capital gains made on divestment of a property, fines for third parties who knowingly assist foreign investors to break the rules, and stopping foreign investors who fail to comply with the foreign investment rules from doing so.
“The Government has also introduced application fees so the cost of the system is no longer borne by the Australian taxpayer.
Mr van Manen said the Government was also continuing to work collaboratively with the States and Territories to ensure sales of critical infrastructure to foreign investors are properly scrutinised.
For more information visit www.firb.gov.au