Land Tax and amendments to adjustments in property settlements

In a significant shift from traditional practices in real estate transactions, the recent amendment to Victoria’s tax legislation will transform how land tax liabilities are managed during property settlements. Traditionally, it was common for sellers to pass on their land tax liabilities to buyers as part of the settlement adjustments. However, starting 1 January 2024, this practice will see a drastic change in Victoria due to the enactment of the State Taxation and Other Acts Amendment Act 2023 (Vic).

The new law explicitly prohibits the inclusion of land tax adjustments in the financial settlements between sellers and buyers for the majority of land sales in Victoria. This change means that any contractual agreement made after the start of 2024 cannot legally include provisions for the buyer to cover land tax liabilities, rendering such terms ineffective and void. This legislative change necessitates a revision of existing standard contracts used for land sales in Victoria, affecting forms previously endorsed by the Law Institute of Victoria and those based on the general conditions outlined by the now-superseded Estate Agents (Contracts) Regulations 2008 (Vic).

The legislation was officially passed on 30 November 2023 and received royal assent on 12 December 2023. This leaves a narrow window for property developers and sellers to align their sales agreements with the new legal requirements. Failure to comply with these changes could result in hefty penalties for those attempting to shift land tax burdens onto buyers contrary to the new regulations.

The rationale behind this legislative update is to enhance consumer protection by ensuring greater clarity in the costs associated with land transactions. The government aims to eliminate the opacity surrounding land tax liabilities, advocating for these costs to be directly reflected in the property’s sale price upfront. This approach acknowledges the variability of land tax liabilities, which can differ based on the seller’s circumstances, such as whether the property is an investment or if the seller is considered a foreign or absentee owner.

The legislative amendments are broad, covering transactions up to a threshold sale price of AU$10 million, inclusive of both residential and commercial properties. Notably, the law introduces penalties for sellers who contravene this regulation, setting fines based on the severity of the offense.

There are specific exceptions to these rules, notably for contracts finalized on or before 31 December 2023, and for sales exceeding AU$10 million. Additionally, the law adjusts the threshold amount annually based on the consumer price index, ensuring the legislation remains relevant over time.

This legislative change underscores the importance of transparency in property transactions, aiming to provide buyers with clearer insights into their financial commitments. It represents a significant shift in how property settlements are conducted in Victoria, emphasizing consumer protection and the need for sellers to adapt swiftly to comply with the new legal landscape.

Enduring Power of Attorney – Are you prepared?

As we navigate through our daily lives, we often face situations where we need to make important decisions regarding our finances, property, and medical care. However, what happens if we become unable to make these decisions ourselves? This is where an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) becomes crucial.


In Victoria, an EPA is a legal document that appoints a trusted person, also known as an attorney, to make financial and legal decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so due to illness, injury, or mental incapacity. An EPA is different from a general Power of Attorney (POA), which only remains valid while the person who appointed it has the capacity to make decisions for themselves.


Here are some situations where you may need an EPA in Victoria:


  1. Ageing Population: With Australia’s ageing population, there is a higher likelihood of mental incapacity, such as dementia, which may limit the ability to make decisions. An EPA can ensure that your financial and legal affairs are taken care of by someone you trust.
  2. Accidents or Illness: Accidents and illnesses can happen to anyone, at any time, which may result in a temporary or permanent incapacity. An EPA can give you peace of mind, knowing that someone can manage your affairs while you recover.
  3. Business Owners: Business owners need to ensure that their business can continue to run in their absence, especially if they are the sole decision-maker. An EPA can provide continuity in the business by allowing the appointed attorney to make decisions in the owner’s absence.


At Malkin Lawyers, we understand that the decision to appoint an attorney is not an easy one, which is why we offer fixed fee packages for Enduring Power of Attorney documents. We take the time to understand your unique circumstances and guide you through the legal process to ensure that your interests are protected.


It is important to note that an EPA document must be created while you still have the mental capacity to make decisions for yourself. Once you lose the capacity to make decisions, it is too late to appoint an attorney. Therefore, it is essential to plan ahead and create an EPA document before it is too late.


In summary, an Enduring Power of Attorney is a legal document that can provide peace of mind for you and your loved ones by appointing a trusted attorney to make important financial and legal decisions on your behalf. It is crucial to plan ahead and create an EPA document while you still have the capacity to do so. At Malkin Lawyers, we offer fixed fee packages to help guide you through this process and ensure that your interests are protected.

Malkin Lawyers launches new web page

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Spouse and defacto partner property transfers

Spouses and defacto partners have enjoyed an exemption from paying stamp duty on transfers of real property from one to the other or between them. However, as at 1 July 2017, this exemption is no longer available to all transactions. The exemption no longer applies to non principle place of residence property such as an investment or commercial properties. Care needs to be taken in Family Law settlements.
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