Australia increases foreign investment fees and penalties

Out-Law News | 16 Aug 2022 | 9:11 am | 1 min. read

Application fees for foreign investment into Australia have been doubled with effect from 29 July 2022.

The new fee structure will generate an additional A$455 million (US$319m) for the government over the previous estimates, according to a government statement. Fees for foreign investment will continue to make up only a small proportion of total foreign direct investment, the government said.

According to updated guidance (1.56MB/42-page PDF), prospective foreign investors must pay a fee for each application made or notice given under the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975. The exact fee for each notice or application will depend on the value and type of action taken or to be taken.

Investors are required to pay the fee at the time of filing the application or notice. The 30-day statutory time limit for deciding on the application or notice will not begin until the correct fee is paid.

The guidance includes the new fee structure that took effect on 29 July.

It also includes rules on when and how fees will be applied; rules around adjusting and lowering fee; fees for exemption certificates, retrospective applications and variations; rules around fee waivers and reductions; and specific rules on fees for residential land. It also sets out how fees will be adjusted each year in line with the averages of Statistics Consumer Price Index (CIP), with the reindexed fees applicable from 1 July.

The changes are part of the Albanese Labor government’s plans to deliver on its election commitment. The Labor government said the increased fee revenue would be used to help to deliver its housing reform plan, which is expected to address the challenge of housing affordability and help more Australians into home ownership.