Deadline for Main Residence Exemption Changes MUST Change – due to the Covid-19 pandemic Australian expats trying to sell their properties before the deadline on the 30th of June 2020 (Main Residence Exemption transition period for those Australian expats overseas as at the 9th of May 2017)  have faced insurmountable obstacles that no one could have foreseen.

Even though the bill was first proposed in the Federal Budget in 2017, Australian expats have only had since the 12 of December 2019 (3 months) to make a fully informed decision as that was when the bill received Royal Assent.

With the implementation of Stage 2 Restrictions by the Federal Government, a ban on real estate auctions and open house inspections now makes it almost impossible for an Australian citizen to sell their property within the required time frame.

Other obstacles Australian expats are experiencing with selling within the required time frame include:

  • Travel bans and border closures resulting in the inability of the expat to return to Australia to prepare their property for sale.
  • Quarantine requirements of 14-days for all Australian citizens returning to Australia negating their ability to meet with real estate agents and prepare their property for the sale process.
  • Tenants testing positive for the corona virus (Covid-19) creating uncertainty with respect to being able to gain access to the property and show the property to potential buyers.

It is unfair to have expected Australian expats to have acted on the proposed legislation when it was announced in 2017 as the bill had not received Royal Assent until 2019 and it would have been difficult to manage their Australian expat tax obligations on a guess of whether this would pass on not.

We call on the government to announce an extension of the deadline for the main residence exemption and a transition period of at least 12 months so that Australian citizens can fully avail themselves of the flexibility offered as prescribed in the legislation.

Last month we wrote to 7 MP’s and Senators asking for them to assist Australian expats in this difficult time. The letters can be found by clicking the link below.

Request to change deadline for main residence exemption

 

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