With the new Register of Foreign Ownership of Australian Assets due to start on 1 July 2023, the ATO is making the transition easier for foreign investors and their advisers by launching a new online portal to manage registration and other obligations. The new Register will merge existing agricultural land, water and residential registers and will include new asset types which foreign investors will need to register (ie commercial land, business acquisitions, etc).
“We’re excited to bring foreign investors into our Online services space. It’s a more modern and secure central system they can use to interact with us.” – ATO Foreign Investment Program Assistant Commissioner, Jennifer Farley
The new online portal will commence operation on 26 June 2023, and will require the use of the myGovID app. The app is used to prove your identity when logging into a range of government online services and differs from a myGov account. It can be set up using a personal email address.
To register for the app, foreign investors will need some identity information. Those with TFNs will only need to answer some basic questions relating to their notice of assessment or bank account used on tax returns. For those without a TFN, more complex identity details are required which may include:
- passport and visa details on foreign investment application or land registration;
- ATO reference number if an ARN notification letter has previously been received;
- submission date of residential foreign investment application and the fee amount;
- date of residential foreign investment approval;
- payment method used for the last Australian property transaction; and
- date of lodgment of vacancy fee return (if any).
Foreign investors with ABNs will need a myGovID with a “standard” or “strong” identity strength, and once set up, the myGovID will need to be linked to the ABN in the Relationship Authorisation Manager (RAM). Foreign investors without an ABN or representatives of foreign investors will only need a myGovID with a “basic” identity strength.
Specifically, representatives of foreign investors will need to set up their own access to online services for foreign investors and log in to complete a one-off registration. To authorise access to representatives, foreign investors will need the full name the representative used to set up the myGovID and the email address that can only be accessed by the representative.
Once registered, online services for foreign investors can be used to:
- lodge foreign investment applications for residential land and pay associated fees;
- manage personal foreign investment details;
- manage residential and non-residential asset registrations;
- view the history of residential and non-residential assets (from 1 January 2021);
- lodge vacancy fee returns and pay associated fees;
- monitor residential foreign investment application status;
- review any asset registrations;
- review vacancy return lodgments;
- review payment history; and
- delegate authority to representatives as an individual or for an entity without an ABN.
In conjunction with the launch of online services, most forms foreign investors use will be removed from the ATO website from 17 June 2023. The ATO advises any foreign investors with lodgement obligations, such as a vacancy fee return between 17 and 25 June 2023, to lodge before 17 June 2023.
Need help to register?
If you’re a foreign investor that has previously lodged using paper forms on the ATO website, now is the time to get ready for online lodgment and to get a myGovID. If you’re confused about any part of the process or would like to appoint a representative to handle all transactions going forward, contact us today.