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:
On July 10, 2018, officials from Kenya and Portugal signed a DTA.
On July 11, 2018, San Marino and the United Arab Emirates signed a DTA.
The UAE's Cabinet on June 13, 2018, approved DTAs signed with Saudi Arabia, Rwanda, and Turkmenistan.
A law to ratify the Azerbaijan-Morocco DTA was tabled before Morocco's Cabinet on June 14, 2018.
Qatar's Government on June 14, 2018, confirmed that it had completed its domestic ratification procedures in respect of a DTA signed with Argentina.
Ukraine's Cabinet on June 6, 2018, approved a law to ratify a DTA Protocol signed with the United Kingdom.
Luxembourg and Vietnam agreed to continue negotiations towards a DTA Protocol at a June 15 meeting.
Sweden's Parliament on June 7, 2018, approved an amendment to the country's DTA with Switzerland to clarify the scope of the term pension fund in the agreement.
Switzerland's lower house of Parliament on May 29, 2018, approved DTAs with Kosovo and Pakistan.
The Moroccan Government has approved for ratification a DTA with the Republic of the Congo, it announced on May 29, 2018.
Argentina has approved a protocol to its DTA with Brazil, the Argentinian Official Gazette reported on May 23, 2018.
Brazil's upper house of Parliament on May 30, 2018, approved a protocol updating the DTA with Norway.
Hong Kong and Finland on May 24, 2018, signed a DTA.
Legislation ratifying a new DTA between Russia and Japan was submitted to the Russian State Assembly (the Duma) for approval on May 22, 2018.
Vietnam and Macau signed a DTA on April 16, according to a statement released by the Vietnamese Ministry of Finance on May 11, 2018.
Talks are continuing on a DTA between Jordan and Switzerland, according to a statement released by Jordan's Foreign Ministry on May 14, 2018.
The Czech Senate approved a law to ratify the DTA with Ghana on May 17, 2018.
The Philippines-Thailand DTA entered into force on March 5, and the Philippines' DTA with Sri Lanka on March 14, the Filipino tax agency announced on May 17, 2018. They will be effective from January 1, 2019.
Jordan's Minister of Planning and International Cooperation met with Luxembourg's Finance Minister to discuss enhanced cooperation between the two countries in a number of areas and agreed to seek to conclude a DTA.
Uzbekistan and Lithuania are to engage in talks towards a DTA, Uzbekistan's state news agency reported May 9, 2018.
Two Georgian committees approved the text of a DTA with Saudi Arabia and forwarded it for ratification, according to a May 17 announcement on the Georgian parliament's website.
Hong Kong gazetted an order to ratify its DTA with Saudi Arabia on May 18, 2018.
Talks are continuing on a DTA between Turkey and Afghanistan, according to a statement released by Turkey's Ministry of the Interior on May 11, 2018.
A new DTA between Finland and Spain will enter into force in January 2019, according to a May 18, 2018, announcement from the Finnish tax authority.
Andorra and Cyprus have signed a DTA, Andorra's Government announced on May 18, 2018.