Did you make a mistake on your FHOG?
The First Home Owners Grant (FHOG) is a one-off grant payable to first-time buyers for the purchase or construction of a new home.
Applicants have to meet particular eligibility criteria to obtain the grant and stamp duty concessions and it can be frustrating if you don’t quite meet the requirements.
However, lying on your FHOG application or simply making a mistake is very often picked up by your state’s revenue office and, at worst, could see you face significant penalties.
Tips on completing your FHOG application
Did you know that more than 80% of first home owners grant applications are lodged incorrectly the first time around?
So, based on our experience, we’ve created a FHOG guide to help first home buyers complete an accurate application which will be approved quickly.
If you do not complete the form correctly, delay sending in the form or do not provide the correct supporting documents then the settlement of your new home could be delayed!
Not ready to apply for the grant yet? Try our FHOG calculator to discover how much you qualify for in your state.
Call us on 1300 889 743 or enquire online and we can help you buy your first home.
Common cases of FHOG application fraud
- People not declaring that their spouse has previously owned a home and/or making false claims about their de facto or marital status.
- Identity fraud, specifically, people creating fake IDs to get multiple grants.
- Renting out the property within the first 6-12 months (the time frame varies in each state) which breaches the requirement for the property to be your principle place of residence (PPR).
- Purchasing the FHOG property in a child’s name, with the consideration for the property paid by the parents.
- Renovating the FHOG property while using another residence to cook, shower, sleep and, otherwise, live.
What If I’m a sole owner buying with a partner?
If you’re buying the property as a sole owner (sole ownership) but intend to live with a de facto partner or spouse who has received the FHOG in the past, your FHOG application will be knocked back.
First-time buyers who falsify their applications tend to get caught out at some point, whether it’s opening a transaction account together, applying for Centrelink benefits or simply refinancing or topping up their home loan in the future.
The state governments are getting better at auditing their grant programs and identifying these false details. It’s not worth it!
What if it’s my first home in a particular state?
No, you’re not eligible for the first home owners grant if you or your partner have already owned a home in another state and received a grant.
However, you may be eligible if you or your spouse or de facto partner have only had a relevant interest in any residential property in Australia on or after 1 July 2000 and you have not resided in that property for a continuous period of at least 6 months.
What are the consequences of lying?
Each of the state governments have their own policies to deal with FHOG cheats.
The best case scenario is that your application will be declined by your office of state revenue.
However, bear in mind that this can slow down the loan settlement process if you subsequently need time to come up with a shortfall in your funds to complete the purchase.
You could potentially miss out on buying your dream home if the vendor (property seller) decides that you’re taking too long to figure out your finance.
Will I be hit with a fine if I get caught?
Over the years, states have cracked down on people making multiple FHOG applications or providing other false information or supporting documents.
From 2012 to 2015 alone, the NSW government has reclaimed $5 million and the Victorian government has reclaimed $7.5 million.
Even if you get away with it at the approval stage, there’s a big chance you’ll face huge fines after the grant is paid out.
Some of these penalties include significant fines, criminal charges and even jail time under the First Home Owner Grant Act 2000 (FHOG Act).
Below are some of the true events where clients have tried to get away with misleading their state government.
A Victorian man was charged under the FHOG Act for giving false information in falsifying his identity to obtain a grant.
The man pleaded guilty at his court hearing and was sentenced to pay a $2000 fine plus $68.10 in court costs.
In another case, a NSW man was convicted under the Crimes Act, Oaths Act, First Home Owner Grant Act and Taxation Administration Act after he’d tried to get three separate first-homebuyers’ grants using separate identities.
He was sentenced to nine months jail with a non-parole period of six months and was also fined $7,629.
Failure to disclose prior interest in property and receipt of a FHOG
A woman was charged for deliberately providing deceptive information in obtaining a grant and bonus of $12,000.
She falsely declared that her spouse had not received an earlier FHOG and provided misleading information that she had not resided in a property in which she and/or her spouse had a relevant interest.
She had 12 other aliases but no previous convictions and pleaded guilty to two charges in the Magistrates Court.
She was convicted and received a 12-month good behaviour bond on the condition that she repay $12,000 to the State Revenue Office (SRO) within 30 days as well as $674.51 in costs and disbursements.
What if I simply made a mistake on the application?
In the entire application form, do not guess any questions!
If you’re not sure about anything, then talk with your mortgage broker or your solicitor.
If you make a mistake, cross it out neatly, write your correction next to that section, and then you and partner should initial the change.
If you make a mistake on a QLD or VIC first home owners grant application, it’s best to print that particular page/s again.
Don’t risk it! Speak to a mortgage broker
Really need the FHOG and considering cheating the system? Don’t do it!
Even if you’re not sure you’re filling out the application correctly, it’s best to speak with a mortgage broker first.
Getting approved for the FHOG is not the only way to solve a shortfall in funds to complete.
A guarantor home loan has the added bonus of allowing you to borrow up to 105% of the property value, including the cost of Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI), stamp duty, legal fees and other property buying costs.
We’re experts in helping first home buyers so please call us on 1300 889 743 or fill our free assessment form today.
We will assist you to complete the FHOG form and tell you which supporting documents you may need to provide.