Saturday, July 13, 2024

Why Victoria’s vacant homes tax could be missing most of the empty properties owned by investors

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It’s a Victorian tax that raked in $11.3 million from investors sitting on empty residential properties last year.

But analysis suggests the state’s Vacant Residential Land Tax (VRLT) could be missing the vast majority of vacant homes eligible for the charge, less than a year out from a planned expansion of the levy.

In 2023, a total of 1,013 properties were found liable for the tax — up from 910 properties the year before, according to State Revenue Office (SRO) data.

The tax is imposed when a residence sits empty for six months or more of the year.

Basically, it’s meant to push investors to fill or sell their empty properties.

Most vacant homes are being missed, data suggests

Getting a handle on the number of empty residential homes in Victoria is trickier than you might imagine. There can be lots of reasons why a home is empty on census night, for example. 

But Grattan Institute deputy program director of economic policy Joey Moloney said the most relevant research came from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Its research found 1.3 per cent of properties nationally, and 1.4 per cent in Victoria, showed no sign of recent use (an insight gleaned from electricity usage).

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