Australian Treasurer Scott Morrison's 2017 Budget focused on measures to cool the housing market and crack down on tax avoidance.
Morrison handed down the Budget on May 9. He said the the budget would return to a surplus in 2020-21 and remain in surplus over the medium term.
The Budget included a host of measures intended to tackle the issue of rising housing costs. "There are no silver bullets to making housing more affordable. But by adopting a comprehensive approach, by working together, by understanding the spectrum of housing needs, we can make a difference," Morrison said.
In particular, the Government will introduce a range of new rules for foreign investment in Australian housing. It will prevent foreign and temporary residents from claiming the main residence capital gains tax (CGT) exemption when they sell property in Australia, effective from Budget night. Foreign and temporary tax residents who hold property on Budget night can continue to claim the exemption until June 30, 2019.
The Government will increase the foreign resident capital gains tax withholding rate from 10 percent to 12.5 percent, and reduce the property price threshold for the regime from AUD2m (USD1.5m) to AUD750,000. The changes will apply from July 1, 2017.
Foreign owners of residential property will face an annual charge if the property is not occupied or available to rent for at least six months in each year. The annual vacancy charge will apply to foreign persons who make a foreign investment application for residential property from 19:30 AEST on Budget night. The charge will be equivalent to the foreign investment application fee which was paid at the time of application.
On the housing front, the Government will also:
The Budget contained the following tax integrity measures, under which the Government will:
The Budget also commits the Government to:
Switzerland and the United Kingdom signed a DTA Protocol on November 30, 2017.
According to an update from the Liechtenstein Government, the new DTA with the United Arab Emirates will become effective from January 1, 2018.
According to preliminary media reports, the Netherlands and Liechtenstein held a first round of DTA negotiations over three days ending November 17, 2017.
Saudi Arabia's Cabinet on November 28, 2017, authorized the signing of a DTA with Bulgaria.
Bahrain's Cabinet has approved the signing of a new DTA with Hong Kong, the state news agency said November 13, 2017.
Hong Kong announced on November 24, 2017, that its DTAs with Pakistan and Latvia had entered into force.
Finland on November 2, 2017, confirmed that a new DTA signed with Germany will be effective from January 1, 2018.
The DTA between Cyprus and Iran will become effective from January 1, 2018.
India ratified a third Protocol to its DTA with New Zealand on November 2, 2017, publishing a Notice in its Official Gazette.
Gibraltar and the United Kingdom are considering launching negotiations towards a DTA, according to recent comments from the UK's Economic Secretary to the Treasury.
Barbados and Italy have exchanged instruments of ratification in respect of a DTA, which will now become effective from January 1, 2018.
Switzerland's Government on October 25, 2017, adopted a dispatch on the DTA concluded with Pakistan, enabling its ratification.
Spain and Portugal signed a DTA on October 18, 2017.
Pakistan and Latvia initialed a DTA on October 25, 2017.
Spain and Romania signed a DTA on October 18, 2017.
Denmark and Japan signed a DTA Protocol on October 11, 2017.
The Bahamas and Finland signed a Protocol to amend their TIEA on October 19, 2017.
The Dutch lower house of parliament on October 24, 2017, approved the ratification of a DTA signed with Zambia.
Cyprus and Mauritius signed a DTA Protocol on October 23, 2017.
According to preliminary media reports, Armenia and Iran are to enter into negotiations to revise their DTA.
The United Kingdom and Ukraine signed a DTA Protocol on October 9, 2017.
According to preliminary media reports, Spain's Cabinet on October 6, 2017, approved the signing of a DTA and accompanying Protocol with Finland.
Russia and Japan signed a DTA on September 7, 2017.
A new TIEA between the Isle of Man and Turkey entered into force on October 7, 2017.
The United Kingdom and Belarus signed a DTA on September 26, 2017.