The vacancy fee is part of the Government's comprehensive housing affordability plan that was announced on 9 May 2017. This measure is intended to encourage foreign owners of residential dwellings to make them available for rent where they are not used as a residence and so increase the number of dwellings available for Australians to live in. The reporting and notification requirements are also expected to provide greater visibility of vacancy rates for foreign owned residential dwellings.
On 30 November 2017 the Treasury Laws Amendment (Housing Tax Integrity) Act 2017 received royal assent. The Act amends the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975 to require foreign owners of residential dwellings to annually inform the ATO whether the dwelling is residentially occupied or genuinely available on the rental market as a residence for at least six months per year. If the person fails to notify the ATO or notifies the ATO that the dwelling is not residentially occupied or genuinely available on the rental market as a residence for at least six months per year they will be liable for a fee. The fee will be equivalent to the relevant foreign investment application fee for the property at the time it was acquired by the foreign investor.
The obligations under the Act apply to foreign persons who make a foreign investment application for residential property from 7:30PM (AEST) on 9 May 2017. The obligations also apply to foreign purchasers who acquire residential dwellings utilising a New Dwelling Exemption Certificate where the certificate was applied for from 7.30PM (AEST) on 9 May 2017.
Original source from ：https://www.ato.gov.au/general/new-legislation/in-detail/other-topics/international/annual-fee-on-foreign-owners-of-underutilised-residential-property/