ATO foreign investment crack squad investigating 195 property sales

ATO foreign investment crack squad investigating 195 property sales
ATO foreign investment crack squad investigating 195 property sales

The Australian Tax Office is investigating 195 possibly illegal real estate sales to foreigners.

They have identified one foreign investor who appears to be linked to over 10 properties ranging from a $300,000 unit to a house worth $1.4 million.

A second divestment order - that will follow Point Piper's Villa del Mare - is expected over a Perth property after an investor from the United Kingdom admitted a $700,000 purchase.

Under the current amnesty, investors who declare unlawfully purchased properties before November 30 would avoid prosecution.

Up to 24 foreign investors have come forward under an amnesty to disclose they may have breached home-ownership rules, Treasurer Joe Hockey has advised. 

Tax commissioner Chris Jordan told a recent senate committee hearing that the 195 investigations had arisen after people came forward voluntarily and from other people dobbing them in.

"There's 195 in total that we are looking at," Mr Jordan said, in response to questioning from Labor senator Sam Dastyari.

"Some have come forward, some are complainants, because they think the people have breached; sometimes they have, sometimes they haven't," Mr Jordan said.

"We are aware of some instances where they are not just the trophy property but there might be a number of properties that cover the spectrum; in total they might add up to a significant amount."

When asked if one the houses being investigated was Altona, a $52 million mansion in Sydney, the ATO said it could not comment on investigations.

Fairfax Media has reported a preliminary audit of foreign investment in Australian real estate had also identified a network of "high risk" investment advisers.

ATO Second commissioner Neil Olesen said investigations would be mostly on top-end properties

"I'd be surprised if a fair slab of them were not towards the top end of the market. One of the compliance activities we have in mind would be to look at significant sales over the last five to 10 years."

Meanwhile Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen said "any allegations of breaches of foreign investment rules should be thoroughly investigated" but dismissed Joe Hockey's hardline stance on trophy home purchases as addressing housing affordability.

"Joe Hockey has held up forced sales of Point Piper mansions as somehow being a contribution to first home owners and housing affordability," Chris Bowen said.

"Young Australian first home buyers want action from this government. Joe Hockey promised a housing affordability policy before the last election but has actually delivered naught."

Tags: 
Ato Illegal

Community Discussion

Be the first one to comment on this article
What would you like to say about this project?