Government Forces Foreigners to Sell Australian Real Estate

The Treasurer has ordered the forced sale of a further 15 Australian residential properties held by foreign nationals in breach of the foreign investment framework, taking the total number of forced sales to 61, with a combined value of $107 million.

A further 36 foreign nationals have sold properties during ATO investigations, showing improved compliance with the rules and a strengthening of the enforcement program.

The foreign nationals in the latest group of forced disposals purchased their properties without Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) approval, and in some cases held multiple established properties in breach of the rules.

The ATO identified these breaches through data matching programs, as well as using information provided by the public.

The ATO has detected more than 570 foreign nationals who have breached the rules, which has resulted in forced sales, self-disposals, variations to previously approved FIRB applications and retrospective approvals with strict conditions.

Breaches of these conditions will result in civil penalties or criminal prosecution.

The ATO has also issued 388 penalty notices to foreign nationals in breach of the rules, attracting penalties of more than $2 million.

Ref: Treasurer’s Media Release, 6 February 2017

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