Foreign Investment in Australia – Regulatory landscape

Foreign Investment in Australia – Regulatory landscape

From 1 December 2015 there were major changes to the regulatory regime governing foreign investment into Australia.

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The majority of the changes are contained in the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Legislation Amendment Act 2015 and are already in effect.

Foreign investment regulation changes

Some of the changes include:

  • increasing the level of interest in a corporation that trigger reporting requirements to the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB)
  • introducing a regime for application fees
  • expanding the application of the rules applicable to agricultural land
  • enabling officers from the ATO to exercise broad investigatory powers.

These rules apply to not only to direct investment into Australia, but can also apply to some indirect holdings – group restructures are a perfect example of where a FIRB reporting requirement might fly under the radar, and the consequences of non-compliance can be severe.

FIRB issues can also arise on certain financing, development agreements, and other arrangements.

How we can help

Our experienced team can assist clients navigate the new regulatory landscape by:

  • providing advice on investments, restructures and refinancing arrangements
  • preparing FIRB submissions, and assisting in collating the (often detailed) supporting information
  • liaising with the FIRB and the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) on foreign investment related issues.

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