Harcourts might not be a familiar name to many outside the metropolitan areas but Harcourts is a very successful, multi-national real estate specialist business that entered into a national arrangement with Landmark to provide first class real estate services to regional Australia.
The ATO has amended the legislation, introduced on the 1st July 2016, which affects real property transactions.
Australian residents who are selling a property with a market value of $750,000 or more (previously $2m) are required to complete an ATO Clearance Certificate and make this available to the buyer.
The certificate confirms a 12.5% withholding amount of the sale price does NOT need to be withheld. If the seller does not provide the clearance certificate, the purchaser will be required to withhold the 12.5% of the sale price and pay this diectly to the ATO.
Certificates are valid for 12 months from date of issue and can be downloaded from the ATO web site; turnaround times are typically 2 - 3 business days.
Severe penalties apply to both sellers and purchasers who fail to comply.