Australian property tax and expatriate tax expert STEVE DOUGLAS explains when land tax may be applicable to you and how to minimise the cost.
Q How do I determine if I need to pay land tax on my Australian property?
A In Australia the Federal Government is entitled to receive income tax and capital gains tax which is managed when you lodge your annual tax return. Under the Australian Constitution, state governments aren’t entitled to charge any taxation against income or capital receipts. However they are entitled to raise levies or duties on activity within their state.
One of the major levies in each state is land tax. Many living in Australia are unfamiliar with land tax as it’s not charged on family homes but only on vacant land, rental property or commercial property. To qualify for family home exemption you must be physically living in the property on the date of determination – different for each state – and it’s difficult to achieve this if you’re overseas. Some states acknowledge the family home exemption even if you’re abroad but only if you’re not renting out the property while away. However, you’ll have to pay land tax as long as you own more than one rental property in the same state.
Each state has a different land tax rate, usually based on the unimproved value of the land the property sits on in a similar calculation to the annual local council rates. There’s usually a tax free threshold on offer if you only have one property – in addition to your family home – where you’re under the tax level and not liable for land tax. This is an advantage if you own properties in different states as you get a new threshold for each state. In addition, the land tax on an apartment will be substantially less than that of a house as the unimproved land value is shared over the many owners and creates a lower individual value for tax purposes. Since land tax is calculated on the cumulative value of all the property you own in a particular state, the more property you own the higher your rate of land tax and the higher your cost.
The annual cost can vary from a few hundred dollars to several thousands, and each State Revenue Department is active in seeking out non payers and recouping any land tax arrears. If you think you may have a potential land tax liability, contact your property manager or the State Revenue office to confirm if you’re over the relevant threshold for your state – otherwise the penalties can be expensive!
Land tax isn’t a deterrent to purchase, just more of a nuisance. It can however become expensive if you have a substantial property portfolio in one state and needs to be considered when working out your cash flow on your rental property. Knowing land tax is due shouldn’t change your decision to invest as any well maintained house will grow in value to justify the additional cost. However, you should review your investment strategy to allow for multi-state property ownership and a sensible mix of houses and apartments to keep your taxable land value down.
Care for your child’s pearly whites with this advice from Dr Leslie Fitz of SMILEFOCUS.
A healthy set of primary teeth helps your child to speak clearly, chew naturally and also aids with creating a path for the arrival of permanent teeth. Teeth provide structure to the face and lips and create a beautiful smile. But decay can impact the healthy growth of secondary teeth resulting in long-term problems.
Bacteria converts sugar on the tooth’s surface into acid within just five minutes which softens the tooth, inviting even more bacteria and resulting in cavities. Minimise this by ensuring your child is getting sufficient fluoride. The benefits of fluoride are two-fold. Fluoride first works on unerupted, developing adult teeth and then on the teeth already visible. Adult teeth start to form at birth, so incorporating fluoride into your child’s diet will help them develop a strong, healthy set of teeth for life. You should also encourage your child to drink Singapore’s tap water, as our national water supply is fluoridated. UK studies report children’s toothpaste has only 500ppm of fluoride, which is insufficient. By comparison, “grown-up” toothpaste has 1,100 to 1,400ppm and fluoride gels range from 1,000 to 5,000ppm. Ensure your child is able to expectorate (spit) before they use adult toothpaste and use less than a pea-sized amount, as ingesting excess fluoride can cause discolouration or fluorosis of adult teeth. The crowns of adult teeth are especially vulnerable during initial formation in the first three years of age.
Children whose teeth are susceptible to decay may need an additional topical fluoride applied at dental visits. Tooth mousse is a good alternative to fluoride. While it is sugar and fluoride free, it offers similar oral health benefits as fluoride and also contains a particular protein which binds onto the tooth and gum surfaces, protecting teeth from decay by increasing calcium phosphate and neutralising acidic saliva. Tooth mousse is only available from your dentist but is not recommended if your child is allergic to milk proteins.
Cavities in children are often due to frequent contact with acidic or sugary food and drinks. Encourage your child to eat healthily – limit their intake of sugar and acidic food and drinks and offer savoury biscuits or cheese instead. And promote good dental habits, such as brushing twice a day and flossing daily.
Tips for top teeth
1. Avoid nursing your child to sleep, or bottle-feeding during bedtime.
2. Floss to prevent “interproximal” cavities. Molar spaces close at around three years of age, so tooth-to-tooth contact between molars may be where daily flossing is needed.
Dr Leslie Fitz
DDS (South Carolina)
Dr Leslie Fitz is a Paediatric Dentist from the US who has recently moved to Singapore from China, where she ran the Great Wall Marathon. With lots of energy and a calm and engaging personality, Dr Fitz offers optimal dental health treatments to children in a stress free environment.
On Thursday March 22 2012, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands hosted a VIP Fashion Night attended by a responsive crowd of celebrities, media personalities, entertainers, and models, business owners and guests including international and local shoppers. “A good night for a catwalk” was the title of the event which coincided with the media launch of Men’s Fashion Week 2012. During the evening The Finder had the opportunity to chat candidly about fashion in Singapore and across Asia with Jude Ow from Porsche Design and Anna Leong - Head of Marketing & PR Asia for the Porsche Design Group who keenly described the impressive selection of strikingly masculine Porsche Design Men’s Fashion Collection Spring/Summer 2012 on parade at the event. The night was a huge success and hat’s off to The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands - The evening was sublime!
Let’s face it, we love having the opportunity to shine. Whether it’s in the workplace impressing our peers, around the home with brilliant organisational and, possibly, untrained decorating or design skills, or competing in a regular social sporting event with friends or colleagues, chances are we all find ourselves in the limelight from time to time. When a child steps out of their comfort zone and takes those first little steps towards an unknown future, an innate mechanism is set in play – the will to achieve. So this month we turn the spotlight on you and ask you to lend a helping hand so we at The Finder can focus on achieving our goals and continue to excel.
Each month we set out to produce an even balance of relevant information and interesting content to help make your life in Singapore a little easier – day to day. To help us better understand how we can continue to provide you with a great – and useful - read, we invite you to participate in The Finder Readership Survey 2012
. We value your opinion and hope you will take part. The questions are mostly multiple choice and the whole process should only take a few minutes out of your day. As a participant, you will stand a chance to take home prizes valued at more than $12,000 including luxurious accommodation packages, furniture giveaways, beauty treatments, dining options and a host of other brilliant prizes. Furthermore, to reward you for taking the time to complete the survey we will automatically allocate a six-month magazine subscription – delivered right to your door, once the results have been collated.
This month The Finder
also shines a spotlight on three rising stars of the Singapore Dance Theatre
who perform this month at the Esplanade Theatre in a glorious production of Swan Lake. We also catch up with pillar of strength, Pai Bruce
. Known across the globe for her dedicated work enriching the lives of women, Pai discusses the relevance of achieving universal gender equality with Assistant Editor, Jassmin Peter. Going Places sees guest writer David Bowden travelling across southern Vietnam
where he unearths unspoiled locales, a compelling history and contrasting lifestyles – making it an enriching adventure as much as an ideal holiday destination. And if it’s meat you’re after – apologies in advance to our vegan readers – then delve into Wine & Dine
and be tempted by our top picks as a result of our recent steak out! There are also some great bush tracks and leisure walks
to be discovered in this month’s Singapore Secrets. Continuing in the style to which you have become accustomed The Finder
delivers a wealth of diversity and choice a bonus guide introducing you to premium businesses and services in the ever popular Tanglin and Orchard
areas. A definite must read. So grab yourself a copy of the March 2012 issue of The Finder
now available FREE at over 415 locations Islandwide