what is land tax?


Investing in real estate can be very lucrative but it also comes with its share of responsibilities and expenses. One such expense that property investors need to be aware of is land tax.

Understanding ‘what is land tax’ and how it works, is crucial for investors looking to grow a successful property investment portfolio.

In this post, we will explore the fundamentals of land tax, its implications for property investors, and some strategies to manage it effectively.

What is Land Tax?

What is Land Tax?  It is a recurring tax levied by state or local governments on the ownership of land.

It is important to note that land tax regulations can vary significantly from one jurisdiction to another, so it’s essential to familiarise yourself with the specific rules and rates in your area.

Land tax is typically calculated based on the unimproved value of the land, which refers to the value of the land without any buildings or structures on it.

Who Pays Land Tax?

Land tax is generally the responsibility of the property owner. If you own land, whether it’s vacant or has buildings on it, you may be liable to pay land tax.

However, there are exceptions and exemptions that vary by location. For example, some States offer concessions or exemptions for primary residences or agricultural land.

Always check with your local authority for the most accurate and up-to-date information.

How is Land Tax Calculated?

The method for calculating land tax can differ from place to place, but it usually involves assessing the unimproved value of your land and applying a set tax rate.

Here’s a simplified formula for calculating land tax:

Land Tax = Unimproved Land Value × Land Tax Rate

The unimproved land value is determined by the relevant government authority, often through regular property valuations.

The land tax rate is set by the State or local government based on the property’s use (e.g. residential/commercial/vacant land) and its total value.  For example, investors with property in South Australia can click this link to calculate Land Tax.

Implications for Property Investors

For property investors, land tax can significantly impact the overall profitability of their investments.  When asking what is Land Tax and it’s implications, here are some things to consider:

  1. Reduced Rental Income: Land tax is an ongoing expense that can eat into your rental income. Property investors need to factor this cost into their calculations when assessing the potential return on investment for a property.
  2. Diversification and Portfolio Management: Owning multiple properties in the same State may lead to varying land tax obligations. Property investors should consider diversifying their portfolio strategically to manage land tax liabilities effectively.
  3. Taxation Planning: Property investors should work with qualified tax professionals to optimise their tax strategies. There may be legal ways to minimise land tax liabilities through deductions or State based exemptions.

Strategies for Managing Land Tax

To manage land tax effectively as a property investor, consider the following strategies:

  1. Stay Informed: Keep yourself updated on the land tax rules and rates in your jurisdiction. Regulations can change, and staying informed will help you plan your investments better.
  2. Diversify Geographically: Spreading your investments across different States & Territories with varying land tax rates can help reduce your overall land tax burden.
  3. Consider Ownership Structures: Consult with tax professionals to explore ownership structures.  Owning investment properties in Trusts or companies that may offer tax advantages in certain States.
  4. Utilise Exemptions and Concessions: Be aware of any exemptions or concessions available in your region, especially if you have properties that may qualify, such as primary residences or agricultural land.
  5. Regularly Review Your Portfolio: Periodically review your property portfolio to ensure it aligns with your investment goals and tax strategies. Selling or acquiring properties strategically can impact your land tax liability.


Land tax is an important consideration for property investors, and understanding how it works can help you make informed investment decisions.

By staying informed, diversifying your portfolio, and employing effective tax planning strategies, you can manage your land tax liabilities and maximise the returns on your property investments.

Remember to consult with qualified professionals for personalised advice based on your unique circumstances and the specific regulations in your area.