Remote area housing
If you live and work in a designated remote area you may be eligible for remote area housing which can increase your salary packaging limit to $18,018 per year, giving you more tax savings and increasing your take home pay.
About remote area housing
Remote area housing is designed to give more tax savings to people who live and work in approved remote areas.
When you package remote area housing, your fringe benefit amount is discounted by 50% which means the normal $9,009 packaging limit can be extended to as much as $18,018 per year, depending on how many remote area housing expenses you have.
NSW Health employees can currently claim the following remote area housing benefits:
- purchase price of housing and land
- home loan interest
- home rental.
How remote area housing works
To qualify for remote area housing you must live and work in an approved remote area.
You can claim home loan interest payments or home rental payments paid after you commence employment with NSW Health.
You can claim the purchase price of housing if you bought a house or commenced employment with NSW Health on or after 1 April 2006, whichever is later.
The cost of land and construction of a new house can be reimbursed provided construction commences within six months of purchasing the land. Reimbursement cannot start until construction is finished and the employee is occupying the house.
Unlike other salary packaging items, remote area housing is not included in your reportable fringe benefit amount (RFBA) on your income statement.
How to claim the purchase price of housing
To claim the purchase price of an established house you must provide the Employee Benefits Team with:
- a copy of the title deeds (this proves the sale was completed. A solicitor’s letter alone does not, as the sale could fall through at the last minute)
- a solicitor’s letter/contract of sale showing the purchase price (NOTE: this must show the purchase price, not the settlement amount which could include rate adjustments etc.).
To claim the purchase of land and construction of a house you must provide the Employee Benefits Team with:
- a copy of the title deeds
- a solicitor’s letter/contract of sale showing the purchase price of the land
- a building contract showing the cost of building
- evidence of completion, for example a Council Certificate of Occupancy
- a completed, signed, Remote Area Housing Declaration, stating that you are currently living in the home for which the claim applies.
How to claim home loan interest
To claim home loan interest you must provide the Employee Benefits Team with:
- a copy of your loan contract showing the address for which the mortgage is provided
- home loan statements showing the amount of interest you are claiming
- a signed Remote Area Housing Declaration, stating that you are currently living in the home for which the loan statements apply and that you are not claiming the interest as a tax deduction.
How to claim home rental
To claim home rental you must provide the Employee Benefits Team with:
- a copy of your tenancy agreement;
- tenant ledger statements or a letter from your landlord showing the amount of rent you are claiming
- a completed, signed Remote Area Housing Declaration Form, stating that you are currently living in the home for which the rental statements apply.
You may not package these benefits if they are being packaged by your partner working for another organisation (if both partners are employed in NSW Health you can split the benefit).
You must inform the Employee Benefits Team immediately if you move house (even within the same town), or change jobs to another facility.
List of approved remote areas
The following are towns considered ‘remote’ as defined by paragraph 140(1)(b) of the Fringe Benefits Tax Assessment Act 1986 and therefore eligible for remote area housing benefits.
- Barham - Koondrook
- Bateman's Bay
- Broken Hill
- Burrill Lake
- Byron Bay
- Crescent Head
- Evans Head
- Glen Innes
- Lake Cargelligo
- Lightning Ridge
- Lord Howe Island
- Malua Bay
- Mossy Point
- Nambucca Heads
- Peak Hill
- Perisher Village
- South-West Rocks
- South Golden Beach
- Suffolk Park
- Thredbo Village
- Tura Beach
- Tuross Heads
- Wee Waa
- Werris Creek
- West Wyalong