How is land tax assessed?

Assessment of land tax

From the 2020-21 financial year, changes apply to how land tax is assessed for land owned in multiple ownerships or held in trust. Provisions were also introduced to group land owned by related corporations for the assessment of land tax. If you own land with different persons or corporations, and land tax applies, you may receive more than one Land Tax Assessment.

Please note: This page explains how land tax is assessed for:

  • natural persons; or
  • corporations that are not grouped.

Trusts

You must notify RevenueSA within one month of acquiring any land on trust.

All trustees were required to notify RevenueSA by 31 July 2020 of any land they already held on trust. Failing to notify us may mean that you are charged interest and penalty tax on the additional amount of land tax that would have been assessed if you had notified.

Land held on trust will be assessed separately from other land owned by the trustee and, from the 2020-21 financial year, the land maybe subject to a higher rate of land tax and a lower land tax threshold.

Please see the land held on trust page for more information about how land held on trust is assessed for land tax.

Related corporations

There are changes to the way land is assessed for related corporations from the 2020-21 financial year, which includes grouping and assessing all land owned by the group and assessed as a single owner.

Please see the related corporation page for more information.

What is an ownership?

An ownership consists of all the land owned by the same registered owner(s). This could be 1 or more persons, trusts or corporations.

The registered owner(s) of land are those who are registered on the Certificate of Title.

An ownership may contain one parcel of land or multiple properties, depending on how many properties the registered owner(s) own.

What is an individual ownership?

Where there is only 1 registered owner on the Certificate of Title.

What is a joint ownership?

Where there are 2 or more registered owners on the Certificate of Title.

Assessment of land tax

How is my land tax calculated?

For taxpayers who only own land in 1 ownership

There are no changes to how land tax is assessed from the 2020-21 financial year.

This applies for both individual ownerships and joint ownerships, as long the owner(s) does not own land in another ownership.

If the combined taxable site value for your land does not exceed $450 000 you will not receive a Land Tax Assessment.

However, land held on trust is taxed differently to other land. Please see the land held on trust page for more information on the minimum threshold and tax rates.


Example 1

Daisy owns land that she uses for rental purposes. She does not own any other land.

If this land is above the threshold, it will be assessed for land tax under Daisy's ownership – there is no change to how her land tax is assessed.


Example 2

Jack and Daisy own land together, they own a unit and a house that are both used for rental purposes. They do not own any other land.

If the combined site value of the land is above the threshold, the land will be assessed for land tax under Jack and Daisy’s joint ownership – there is no change to how their land tax is assessed.


For taxpayers who own land in multiple ownerships

Land owned by joint owners, will be firstly assessed in the joint ownership, and a Land Tax Assessment will be issued if land tax is applicable.

Any taxable land you own jointly with other people will firstly be assessed in the joint ownership and a Land Tax Assessment will be issued.

There is no change to how the land tax is calculated in the joint assessment:

  • Land tax will not be assessed against exempt land.
  • If only one piece of land is owned by the joint ownership, land tax will be calculated on the site value of that land.
  • If more than one piece of land is owned by the joint ownership, land tax will be calculated on the combined site values of all taxable land in the ownership.
  • If the site value, or where multiple land owned the combined site value, is below the land tax threshold (currently $450 000) no Land Tax Assessment will be issued.
  • All the joint owners are liable for the land tax.

Example 3

Poppy and Sarah own two pieces of land together, as follows:

  • Land A – site value $350 000
  • Land B – site value $200 000

They each have a 50% interest in the land.

Land tax for the joint ownership will be assessed on the combined site value of $550 000.


Individual owners will also be assessed on their share of jointly owned land, along with any other land that they own, or partly own, and a Land Tax Assessment will be issued if land tax is applicable. Partly owned land is identified under the property location details on your individual assessment.


Example 4

In addition to the land in example 3, Poppy also owns a piece of land with a site value of $300 000. Her land tax for her individual ownership will be assessed as follows:

  • Land A – site value $175 000 (50% of $350 000)
  • Land B – site value $100 000 (50% of $200 000)
  • Land C – site value $300 000

Land tax for the individual ownership will be assessed on the combined site value of $575 000.


A deduction will also be applied to your individual Land Tax Assessment, which relates to the proportion of land tax assessed for your share in the joint ownership. If there was no land tax liability in the joint ownership (for example, the combined site value was below the threshold) no deduction will apply.

Where the total deduction is greater than the individual land tax liability, land tax is reduced to zero and a Land Tax Assessment will not be issued for the individual ownership.


Example 5

The land tax assessed in the joint ownership (Poppy and Sarah) on a combined site value of $550 000 is $500.

Poppy’s individual Land Tax Assessment will show:

  • land tax of $625 (land tax calculated on combined site value of $575 000);
  • a deduction of $250 (being 50% of the $500 land tax assessed in the joint ownership); and
  • total outstanding of $375 (being land tax less deduction: $625 - $375)

How is my share of the land determined?

If you own the land as tenants in common, we will assess you on your share of the land, as specified on the Certificate of Title.

If you own the land as joint tenants, we will assume you own an equal share in the land as all the other owners.

What if my spouse or domestic partner owns land?

If you own land in your own right, and your spouse or domestic partner also owns land in their own right, this land will not be combined together.

How can I confirm my share of the land?

Taxpayers can obtain information regarding their ownership of land through the South Australian Integrated Land Information System (SAILIS), website www.sailis.sa.gov.au.

Deduction

What is the deduction?

The deduction is an amount you may receive on your individual Land Tax Assessment which stops you from being double taxed on land already taxed in the joint ownership.

The deduction is equivalent to the land tax assessed on land in a joint ownership in proportion to your share of ownership.


Example 6

Joe owns land with Moe (each have an interest of 50%) and also land on his own.

Total land tax assessed on the jointly owned land is $2500: 50% of which is $1250.

Joe’s individual Land Tax Assessment will reflect a deduction of $1250.


This deduction is taken off your entire individual liability. This means the deduction reduces your overall tax liability on your individual Land Tax Assessment, even where your individual liability is created because of other land you own.

If your deduction is greater than your individual Land Tax Assessment, your individual liability reduces to zero and you may not be issued with an individual Land Tax Assessment.

Exempt from land tax

What if my land is exempt from land tax?

If you own land that is ‘excepted’ or ‘exempted’ from land tax, it will not be included in the taxable value of any other land you own for the purposes of assessing land tax.

Your Land Tax Assessment will list all South Australian property that you own, or partly own, including land that is exempt from land tax. Your exemption will be indicated by a code in the ‘site value’ column on your Statement of land and the type of exemption will be listed in the ‘Explanation of codes’ area.

Land that is exempt will not be included in the calculation of land tax payable.

Find out more about land tax exemptions

Land held on trust

What about land held on trust?

Land you hold on trust may be taxed at the Trust land tax rates, which includes a surcharge of up to 0.5% on the general land tax rates and a lower threshold of $25 000.

You are also required to notify RevenueSA of any land you hold on trust.

View the land held on trust page for more information about how trusts are assessed for land tax.

More information

Guide to Legislation: Land Tax changes for Joint Owners, Land Held on Trust & Related Corporations