GST on Residential Property

GST on Residential Property

In property transactions, understanding the Goods and Services Tax (GST) implications is paramount. This is particularly true when distinguishing between various types of properties, as the GST obligations can significantly differ. This blog aims to demystify the complexities surrounding GST in the context of residential real estate, offering a comprehensive guide for those navigating this often perplexing terrain.

Understanding GST in Real Estate

Goods and Services Tax (GST), a broad-based tax applied to most goods and services transactions in Australia, holds specific significance in the real estate sector. For sellers or vendors, the key consideration is whether their property dealings require GST registration. This necessity largely depends on the type of property being transacted.

A residential property, including houses, units, and flats, is characterised by its ability to offer shelter with essential living facilities. Notably, this classification excludes vacant land. A property's residential status hinges on its suitability and intention for occupation or residential accommodation, regardless of the duration of occupancy.

GST and New Residential Property

When it comes to new residential properties, the GST dynamics take a significant turn. Purchasers in these transactions are often obligated to withhold a portion of the contract price at the settlement. This requirement applies to both newly constructed residential properties and land that could be developed for residential purposes. Importantly, the withholding amount is paid directly to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) instead of the property supplier.

If you're engaged in selling new residential property or potential residential land, determining whether you're carrying out an enterprise is crucial. Even singular transactions may fall under this category. In such scenarios, sellers can claim GST credits for construction-related purchases and must account for GST on the property sale. However, for those not operating an enterprise for GST purposes, compliance with other tax obligations, including Capital Gains Tax (CGT), remains essential.

Existing Residential Property and GST

Existing residential properties, defined as those that are not classified as new, have distinct GST implications. When selling an existing residential property, GST credits for purchases related to the sale cannot be claimed. Additionally, such sales are not liable for GST. This clear delineation ensures that vendors of existing residential properties understand their GST obligations, or rather, the lack thereof.

Purchasers of existing residential properties also face specific GST considerations. Since the sale from the vendor to the buyer is input-taxed, the buyer cannot claim a GST credit on the purchase. This aspect underscores the importance of recognising the type of residential property being dealt with in transactions.

Mixed Supply Properties: Residential and Commercial

When dealing with properties that include both residential and commercial spaces, often referred to as mixed supply, the application of GST (Goods and Services Tax) becomes more complex. In these instances, the GST may be applicable only to the commercial portion of the property at the time of sale. However, if the commercial part is leased out, GST may not apply as it is considered a going concern. This situation demands meticulous evaluation to ensure correct GST application and compliance with tax regulations.

For buyers, it's vital to understand the dual nature of these properties. The residential part is input-taxed, which stands in contrast to the GST requirements for the commercial section. Awareness of these tax intricacies is essential for buyers to ensure they meet their tax obligations correctly during such transactions.

Rent, Bonds, and GST

The GST treatment of rent and bonds in residential property transactions is straightforward: they are not subject to GST. If you are leasing residential property or receiving a bond or security deposit for such a property, you are not liable for GST on the rent charged, nor on the bond or security received. Similarly, you cannot claim GST credits for expenses related to leasing the property. This exemption from GST for rent and bonds further simplifies the tax landscape for landlords and tenants in residential property arrangements.

Selling Off the Plan: GST Considerations

When it comes to selling properties off the plan, such as in the case of new developments, the GST implications warrant careful consideration. If you sell the contractual right to a property before its construction is completed, this transaction may be classified as an enterprise, necessitating GST registration. Consequently, GST may apply to the sale of these off-the-plan properties.

This potential enterprise classification highlights the need for sellers in off-the-plan transactions to be acutely aware of their GST obligations. The intricacies of these deals underscore the importance of understanding the tax implications from the outset of such an agreement.


Navigating GST in residential property transactions can be complex, with various scenarios requiring different tax treatments. From new and existing properties to mixed-use developments and off-the-plan sales, each situation demands a specific understanding of GST implications.

For bespoke advice and comprehensive guidance on your GST obligations in real estate transactions, Pearson Chambers Conveyancing is your go-to expert. Their team is well-equipped to offer tailored solutions to your unique needs. Reach out to them for professional support by calling 0421 058 106, emailing, or visiting