Notes to certificates under section 95AA of the Taxation Administration Act 1997.
Power to issue Certificate
1. The Commissioner of State Revenue must issue a Property Clearance Certificate (Certificate) to an owner, mortgagee or bona fide purchaser of land who makes an application specifying the land for which the Certificate is sought and pays the application fee.
Amount shown on Certificate
2. The Certificate shows any land tax (including Vacant Residential Land Tax, interest and penalty tax) that is due and unpaid on the land described in the Certificate at the date of issue. In addition, it may show:
- land tax that has been assessed but is not yet due
- land tax for the current tax year that has not yet been assessed
- any other information that the Commissioner sees fit to include, such as the amount of land tax applicable to the land on a single holding basis and other debts with respect to the property payable to the Commissioner.
Land tax is a first charge on land
3. Unpaid land tax (including Vacant Residential Land Tax, interest and penalty tax) is a first charge on the land to which it relates. This means it has priority over any other encumbrances on the land, such as a mortgage, and will continue as a charge even if ownership of the land is transferred. Therefore, a purchaser may become liable for any such unpaid land tax.
Information for the purchaser
4. Pursuant to section 96 of the Land Tax Act 2005, if a purchaser of the land described in the Certificate has applied for and obtained a certificate, the amount recoverable from the purchaser cannot exceed the amount set out in the certificate, described on the certificate as the ‘Current Land Tax Charge’. A purchaser cannot rely on a Certificate obtained by the vendor.
Information for the vendor
5. Despite the issue of a Certificate, the Commissioner may recover a land tax liability from a vendor, including any amount identified on this Certificate.
6. A Certificate showing no liability for the land does not mean that the land is exempt from land tax. It means that there is nothing to pay at the date of the Certificate.
7. An updated Certificate may be requested free of charge via our website, if:
- the request is within 90 days of the original Certificate’s issue date, and
- there is no change to the parties involved in the transaction for which the Certificate was originally requested.