In Aggarwal v Commissioner of State Revenue (Review and Regulation) [2018] VCAT 622, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) confirmed that the residence requirement for the first home buyer grant is to be assessed objectively, in light of the circumstances relating to the actual occupation of the dwelling.

In this case, the Taxpayer sought review from VCAT of the Commissioner’s decision to disallow its objection to the reversal of the first home owner grant. The Tribunal held that the Taxpayer failed to discharge the onus of proof to show that the home was his principal place of residence (PPR) for a continuous period of 6 months in the twelve month period following completion of the purchase of his home.

The VCAT considered the following key evidence in coming to its conclusion:

  • the water usage details provided by the supplier was not consistent with the Taxpayer living in the property during the relevant period
  • the Taxpayer failed to provide adequate proof of supermarket or fast food expenditure for the relevant period for his stay in the vicinity of the property and
  • other utility bills such as internet usage were considered to be inconsistent with the Taxpayer’s claim.

This case demonstrates that written evidence is critical in supporting the Taxpayer’s assertions. In the present case, utility usage will be strongly weighted as evidence of a PPR but internet usage, local shopping and take away receipts will also be relevant.