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The First Home Super Saver (FHSS) Scheme

The First Home Super Saver (FHSS) Scheme enables first home buyers to save money towards their first home while accessing the concessional tax benefits of Superannuation Funds. The scheme is available to individuals who live in the premises they are purchasing (or will as soon as practicable) and intend to live in the purchased property for a minimum of six months in the first twelve months of purchase.

A bill was passed on 5 April 2019 which includes changes to the FHSS Scheme. There are three main changes to the bill, which should assist in mitigating time delays associated with the previous bill.

Previously, you must have received your FHSS scheme determination, requested a release of FHSS amounts and received your first FHSS amount prior to signing a contract or commencing building. If these conditions were not met, you would have been liable for the FHSS tax. People in the industry were concerned with the length of time it took to release the funds, with anywhere up to 25 days being considered usual.

Following the introduction of the bill you are still required to apply for and receive a FHSS determination prior to signing the contract or construction. However, after the introduction of the bill you will be able to sign a contract or commence construct from the date you make your valid request for release of FHSS amount or up to 14 days before this request. You will no longer be required to wait for the release of the first FHSS amount. This should aid in minimising time delays, enabling you to enter the market sooner.

Under the old scheme you had 12 months from the release of your first FHSS amount to sign the contact for purchase or commence construction. If this condition was not met the funds were to be recontributed to the Superannuation fund (less taxes). The 12 month period now commences from the date of the valid release request.

The FHSS Scheme was previously able to be utilised to purchase your first home any where in the world. This has been restricted to only allow the purchase of Australian homes with FHSS funds.

These changes will take effect 1 July 2019 and will be retrospectively applied to contracts entered into after 1 July 2018. If you have any questions regarding the changes to the FHSS Scheme, contact the team at The Great Bean Counters Pty Ltd.

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