The Australian government has announced that it will double application fees for foreign investors in an effort to improve the federal budget by $455 million (US$315 million) in the next four years.
Starting from July 29, foreigners who invest less than $75,000 will have to pay $4,000 in application fees. And those investing less than a million in residential properties and $50 million in commercial ones need to pay over $13,200.
The changes will also result in an additional fee of about 1.3 percent for residential property investments of up to $2 million and less than 0.1 percent for commercial investments over $50 million.
In addition, there will be different charges for agriculture and commercial investments of various sizes, while application fees for large transactions will be capped at $1.045 million.
Treasurer Jim Chalmers said that although the federal government welcomed foreign investments, application fees were there to make sure that Australians did not bear the cost of administering the foreign investment framework.
“Australia continues to be an attractive place for investment. We have a lot to offer global investors, including strong institutions, transparent regulations and a highly skilled workforce,” he said in a statement.
“We welcome foreign investment in Australia because it plays a crucial role in Australia’s economic success and will continue to be important into the future.”
Morrison Government Blamed For Fee Hikes
Regarding the fee hikes, the treasurer said foreign investment fees just made up a small proportion of total foreign direct investment.
He then blamed the increases in fees, a policy that Labor proposed at the federal election in May, on the $1 trillion budget debt left by the Morrison government.
Chalmers also said that the rises would help deliver the Labor government’s ambitious housing reform agenda to address housing affordability issues in the country.
Apart from raising application fees, the federal government also said it would impose heavier penalties for overseas investors not complying with Australia’s rules. However, details of the increases will be presented separately in future legislation.
During the May election, Labor said it expected to raise $3.1 billion over four years by cracking down on the tax activities of multinationals, large corporates and wealthy individuals if the party won the election.
Moreover, it hoped to raise $1.9 billion in tax revenue from multinational companies and an extra $555 million from lifting the maximum fine for competition law breaches and unfair practices by fivefold to $50 million.
Shadow Treasurer Angus Taylor has not replied to a request for comments from The Epoch Times.