General Information

 

What is the purpose of the First Home Owner Grant (FHOG)?

 

The Grant is designed to encourage and assist home ownership by first home buyers in the Northern Territory.

 

What is the definition of a home?

A home is a building, permanently affixed to the land that may lawfully be used as a principal place of residence, such as a newly constructed or established home, townhouse, villa, unit etc. For further information on the meaning of a home, refer to the following Commissioner’s Guideline.

 

Commissioner's Guideline CG-HI-006: Meaning of a 'home' (pdf, 74kb) 
Commissioner's Guideline CG-HI-006: Meaning of a 'home' (docx, 701kb)

 

What type of home qualifies for the Grant?

 

The home:

 
  • must be situated in the Northern Territory;

  • must be lawfully able to be used as a place of residence and be suitable for use for that purpose; and

  • where applicable, the value of the home must not exceed the transaction eligibility threshold. The threshold is explained in further detail on the FHOG page​.

 

From 1 January 2015, the grant will only be available to first home buyers who enter into a contract to construct or purchase a new home, or commence construction as an owner builder, on or after that date.

 

What is a new home?

 

A home that has not been previously lived in or sold as a place of residence, and is lawfully fit for occupation. A discretion is available in limited circumstances to declare a home that has been previously sold, but not occupied, to be a new home. For further information on this discretion, refer to the following Commissioner’s Guideline.​

Commissioners Guideline CG-HI-011: What is a new home? (pdf, 70kb)
Commissioners Guideline CG-HI-011: What is a new home? (docx, 691kb)

Who is eligible for the FHOG?

 

Eligibility Criteria webpage.

 

How much is the FHOG?

 

The amount of the FHOG varies depending on the commencement date of the eligible transaction. As a guide, the FHOG is the lesser of the consideration actually paid for the eligible transaction, or:

Commencement date of eligible transaction​ New home Established home
From 1 January 2015 $26 000 Nil

From 13 May 2014 - 31 December 2014

$26 000

Urban area - $12 000
Elsewhere  - $25 000

From 4 December 2012 - 12 May 2014​
$25 000 Urban area - $12 000
Elsewhere  - $25 000
Prior to 3 December 2012​
$7000 $7000

What is ‘consideration’?

 

The term consideration may be defined according to the following:

 
  • For the purchase of a home, it refers to the amount paid for the purchase including any GST payable in relation to the transaction.

  • For a comprehensive home building contract, it refers to the total amount paid for the building work including any GST payable in relation to the transaction.

  • For an owner-builder, it refers to the actual costs to the owner not including the owner's own labour.

  • What is an established home?

    A home that has been previously sold or occupied, and is lawfully fit for occupation.

 

What is an 'urban area'?

 

Urban area means all land located wholly within the boundaries of:

 
  • the Darwin, Palmerston or Litchfield municipalities;

  • Wagait Shire;

  • the Darwin Waterfront Precinct;

  • the "prescribed area" for the Darwin Rates Act (or from 1 July 2014, the prescribed Area A described in the Schedule to the Northern Territory Rates Regulations); and

  • any other area prescribed by regulation.

 

Maps of current local government boundaries in the Territory can be found at the following link: http://www.localgovernment.nt.gov.au/home/shire_boundaries.

 

Can I use the FHOG as part of the deposit on my home?

 

No. The FHOG is not paid until the settlement date if you apply through an Approved FHOG Agent or, after settlement if you apply through the Territory Revenue Office.

 

Does the FHOG apply to renovations to an existing home?

 

No. Renovations do not qualify for the FHOG. However, the FHOG may apply if you are purchasing a 'substantially renovated home'.

A home is a substantially renovated home if:

a) the sale is a taxable supply of new residential premises within the meaning of section 40-75(1)(b) of the A New Tax System (Goods and Services Tax) Act 1999 of the Commonwealth; and

b) the home has not been previously occupied or sold as a place of residence since the renovation.

'Substantial renovations' of a building are defined as renovations in which all, or substantially all, of a building is removed or replaced. The renovations may, but need not, involve the removal or replacement of foundations, external walls, interior supporting walls, floors, roof or staircases.

Merely renovating part of a house, such as the bathroom and kitchen, is not sufficient to constitute 'substantial renovations' even if it involves structural changes as it does not affect the building as a whole.

For further information refer to the following Commissioner’s Guideline.

 

Commissioners Guideline CG-HI-011: What is a new home? (pdf, 74kb)
Commissioners Guideline CG-HI-011: What is a new home? (docx, 698kb)

 

If people buy a home together and neither has owned a home before, can they get more than one FHOG?

 

No. Only one FHOG is payable for the same eligible transaction. This means that where two or more persons jointly purchase or build their first home, in which they will all reside as their principal place of residence, only one FHOG will be paid.

 

If I receive the FHOG, will it affect my eligibility for stamp duty concessions?

 

Yes. If you are eligible for the FHOG, you will not be entitled to the Principal Place of Residence Rebate or the Senior, Pensioner and Carer Concession.

 

Will my/our income affect the FHOG?

 

No, the FHOG is not means tested.

 

Will the value of my home affect my eligibility?

 

This depends on whether you are purchasing or constructing a new home or purchasing an established home, and when you commenced your transaction.

Further information on the transaction eligibility threshold is available from the FHOG page

 

If I run a business from home, will I be eligible for the FHOG?

 

Yes, as long as you meet the eligibility criteria.

 

I purchased my first home without a loan and intend to live in it as my principal place of residence. Will I be eligible for the FHOG?

 

Yes, as long as you meet the eligibility criteria. The FHOG is not means tested and is not conditional upon receiving financial assistance.

 

What happens when my circumstances change?

 

You must advise the Commissioner of Territory Revenue in writing within 30 days of your circumstances changing if you are not able to comply with any of the requirements. For example, if you are not able to commence occupation of the home within twelve months of settlement date for the purchase of a home, or within twelve months of completion if constructing a home.

 

How will the Government know if I have owned a home in Australia before, signed a contract to purchase or build my own home, or made any declarations that are not true?

 

The Commissioner of Territory Revenue has the authority to conduct an investigation to ascertain whether a person is entitled to the FHOG. This includes access to Land registry systems in other states. Applicants need to be aware that the maximum penalty for making a false statement on an application is two years imprisonment. In addition, if an applicant is later found to be ineligible, they will be required to repay the FHOG together with interest and penalties.

Spouse

Who is a spouse?

A spouse is someone you are either legally married to or are in a de facto relationship with, at the time of making an application.

 

Who is a de facto?

 

A de facto is a person (of the same or opposite sex) to whom you are not married but with whom you have a marriage-like relationship at the time of making an application. For further details on the factors for determining the existence of a de facto relationship, refer to the following Commissioner’s Guideline.

 

Commissioner's Guideline CG-HI-004: De facto relationships (pdf, 81kb)
Commissioner's Guideline CG-HI-004: De facto relationships (docx, 699kb)

 

When is a spouse considered an ex-spouse?

 

When the marriage is legally dissolved or in the case of a de facto partner, the parties are no longer in a marriage type relationship. For further details, refer to the following Commissioner’s Guidelines.
 
Commissioner's Guideline CG-HI-008: Separated spouses (pdf, 75kb)
Commissioner's Guideline CG-HI-008: Separated spouses (docx, 699kb)

 

Commissioner's Guideline CG-HI-004: De facto relationships (pdf, 81kb)
Commissioner's Guideline CG-HI-004: De facto relationships (docx, 699kb)

 

Spouse and Relevant Interest

 

My ex-spouse owned a home whilst we were married, will I still be eligible for the FHOG?

 

If you were not registered as an owner of that home, your eligibility will not be affected.

 

My spouse owned a home prior to 1 July 2000, will I still be eligible for the FHOG?

 

No. If your spouse previously owned a home prior to 1 July 2000 then you are not eligible for the FHOG, even if they did not reside in it.

 

If I am married and my spouse previously owned a home solely or together with another person after 1 July 2000, would I still be eligible for the FHOG?

 

It depends on the whether your spouse occupied the home as his/her place of residence. If it was occupied then you are ineligible for the FHOG. If not, then subject to the other criteria being satisfied you are eligible.

 

Eligible Transaction

 

What is an eligible transaction?

 

An eligible transaction is: 

 
  • a contract made on or after 1 July 2000 for the purchase of a home;

  • a contract to build a home made on or after 1 July 2000; or  

  • in the case of an owner-builder, the laying of foundations commenced on or after 1 July 2000.

 

What is considered to be the commencement date of an eligible transaction?

 

For the purchase of a home, it is the date when the contract of sale is made.

 

For a contract to build a home, it is the date when the contract is made.  

 

For an owner-builder, it is the date when building commences (generally on laying of the foundations). 

 

What is considered to be the completion date of an eligible transaction?

 

For the purchase of a home, it is the date when the purchaser becomes entitled to possession of the home under the contract and has obtained registered title to the land on which the home is situated (generally on settlement).  

 

For a contract to build a home, it is the date that the building is ready for occupation as a place of residence (generally when an occupancy permit is issued).

 

For an owner-builder, it is the date when the building is ready for occupation as a place of residence (generally when an occupancy permit is issued).

 

Residence Requirement

 

How long do I have to live in the home for?

 

At least one applicant for the FHOG must commence occupation of the home within twelve months of completion of the eligible transaction, or a longer period if approved by the Commissioner, and reside there for a continuous period of not less than six months.

In special circumstances, the Commissioner may extend the period for commencing occupation, reduce the continuous period of occupation, or exempt one or more (including all) applicants from the requirement to occupy. For further details, refer to the following Commissioner’s Guideline.

 

Commissioner's Guideline CG-HI-003: Discretion to exempt or vary compliance with the eligibility criteria (pdf, 99kb).
Commissioner's Guideline CG-HI-003: Discretion to exempt or vary compliance with the eligibility criteria (docx, 703kb).

 

After purchasing the home, the vendor wishes to rent the home back for three months from the date of settlement. If I occupy the home after this time and I have not applied for the FHOG, will I still be eligible?

 

Yes, providing that all other eligibility criteria are met and an application is made within twelve months from the completion of the eligible transaction.

 

For further information on the implications of purchasing a home subject to an existing lease, refer to the following Commissioner’s Guideline.

 

Commissioner's Guideline CG-HI-010: Purchasing a home subject to an existing lease (pdf, 69kb)
Commissioner's Guideline CG-HI-010: Purchasing a home subject to an existing lease (docx, 692kb)

 

The vendor wishes to rent the home back for twelve months from the date of settlement. If I occupy the home after this time, will I be eligible for the FHOG?

 

No. At least one applicant for the FHOG must take occupancy of the home within twelve months from the date of possession of the home. If the home is vacant at settlement, you have twelve months from this date to commence occupation. If the home is subject to an existing of less than 12 months, it commences on the date of expiry of the lease. If the lease is for twelve months or more, it is not an eligible transaction for the purpose of FHOG unless the Commissioner extends the period for you to take possession of the home.

 

For further information on the implications of purchasing home subject to an existing lease, refer to the following Commissioner’s Guideline.

 

Commissioner's Guideline CG-HI-010: Purchasing a home subject to an existing lease (pdf, 69kb)
Commissioner's Guideline CG-HI-010: Purchasing a home subject to an existing lease (docx, 692kb)

 

I purchased a home with the intention of living in it but have been transferred interstate in my employment. I intend to live in the property upon my return in 24 months. Am I eligible for the FHOG?

 

At least one applicant for the FHOG must commence occupation of the home within twelve months from the date you took possession of the home (generally at settlement) and reside there for a continuous period of not less than six months. In special circumstances, the Commissioner can extend the period for commencing occupation. For further information, refer to the following Commissioner’s Guideline.

 

Commissioner's Guideline CG-HI-003: Discretion to exempt or vary compliance with the eligibility criteria (pdf 99kb)
Commissioner's Guideline CG-HI-003: Discretion to exempt or vary compliance with the eligibility criteria (docx, 703kb)

 

Vacant Land

 

If I own vacant land before 1 July 2000, am I eligible for the FHOG?

 

Yes. Owning vacant land does not affect your eligibility for the FHOG.

 

If I own land and allow my children to build on it, will they be eligible for the FHOG?

 

Yes. Providing permission is given to them to build and occupy the home as their principal place of residence and they meet all the eligibility criteria.

 

I have purchased a block of land and intend to build a home on this land sometime in the future. Can I apply for the FHOG now?

 

No. You are not entitled to the FHOG unless you enter into a contract to build a home on the land or, if you are an owner-builder, have completed construction of a home.

 

Caravan and Transportable Homes

 

If I purchase a transportable home to erect on a vacant block of land and use it as my principal place of residence, will I be eligible for the FHOG?

 

Yes, provided the home is affixed to the land and may lawfully be used as a place of residence. The transaction is deemed to commence on the date the contract to purchase the transportable home is made and is completed when the transportable home is ready for occupation as a place of residence.

 

Will I be eligible for the FHOG if I intend to purchase and live in a caravan?

 

No. As a caravan is not affixed to land, you will not be eligible for the FHOG.

 

Relevant Interests - Other scenarios

I own commercial properties but have never owned residential property. Will I still qualify for the FHOG if I purchase a home?

Yes. Commercial property is not recognised as residential property.

I previously held an interest in a home as a beneficiary under a Will. Am I still eligible for the FHOG?

If you obtained your interest prior to 1 July 2000, you are not eligible for the FHOG because you have held a previous relevant interest. However, if you obtained your interest after 1 July 2000 and have not occupied the home as your principal place of residence, you may still be eligible for the FHOG.

I have previously owned and occupied a home in another state or territory, but am purchasing my first home in the Northern Territory. Am I eligible for the FHOG?

No. You are only eligible if you have not previously owned a home that you have occupied anywhere in Australia.

Legal Disability

I own a home, however, I intend to purchase a home as trustee or guardian for my child who suffers a legal disability. Will my child be eligible for the FHOG?

The home must be held on trust exclusively for the child. The trustee or guardian may make an application on behalf of the child however; the child is considered to be the applicant and must meet the eligibility criteria to receive the FHOG.

I intend to purchase a home as trustee for a person with a legal disability. Who must reside in the home?

Since the person with the legal disability will be considered the applicant, he or she must live in the home as their principal place of residence to be eligible for the FHOG. 

Payment of Grant

 

When will the Grant be paid?

 

The date of payment will depend on the type of transaction and with whom your application is lodged.

 
Type of transaction Application through
Approved FHOG Agent
Application through
Territory Revenue Office
Purchasing a home At settlement When your name is registered on the title
Purchasing a home under a terms contract Not applicable When you are in possession of the property and instalments (excluding the deposit) of at least the amount of the FHOG have been paid
Contract to build a home When the foundations have been laid and progress payments (excluding the deposit) of at least the amount of the FHOG has been paid When the foundations have been laid and progress payments (excluding the deposit) of at least the amount of the FHOG has been paid
Owner builder When construction of the home has been completed When construction of the home has been completed
 

Do I have to spend the FHOG on my home?

No. If you are eligible for the FHOG, the use of the FHOG funds is at the discretion of the applicant(s).

 
 
 

Lodgement of an Application

 

Where can I obtain the application forms?

 
 

Where can I lodge the application form?

 
 

Is there a time limit to lodge an application?

 

Yes, the application must be submitted within twelve (12) months of the completion of the eligible transaction.

 

Objection and Appeal

 

If my application for the FHOG has been rejected, can I have the decision reviewed?

 

Yes. If you are unhappy with the decision, you must submit your request for review as an objection in writing to Territory Revenue Office within 60 days from the date on which notice of the decision is given. Your request for review should set out in detail the grounds of the objection.

 

If I am unhappy with the outcome of the objection, can I appeal the decision?

 

Yes. You may appeal against the decision to the Taxation and Royalty Appeals Tribunal or to the Supreme Court.​