Published at: 6/21/2016 3:29:32 PM
When it comes to applying for free money from the government it can be tempting to bend the truth a little. It’s a high risk strategy, and it doesn’t pay to pit yourself against the long reach of state governments.
Stories of FHOG fails regularly hit the news, and FHOG applicants who fudge their details typically get found out. That’s because state revenue offices, which administer the FHOG, are able to trawl through everything from car rego details, the electoral roll and even mobile phone records to ensure grant recipients are genuine first home buyers.
Big blunders have been uncovered
In some cases, FHOG recipients have failed to declare their spouse has previously owned a home (a big no-no). Others buy as investors not owner occupiers (another danger zone). Some have committed straight-out identity fraud, creating fake IDs to get multiple grants.
A recent case from NSW hit the headlines, when a Sydney woman was ordered to pay back her FHOG because she spent too much time at her boyfriend’s place. What clinched the outcome was the testimony by the woman’s housemate that the owner rarely showed up at the property, and the whole thing smacked of being a rental investment not a true first home.
Keep it above board. Know what’s involved
The bottom line is to stick to the facts when applying for a FHOG. If you’re not a genuine contender, you could be asked to repay the Grant plus penalties. At worst you could end up doing time behind bars.
Do your research to fully understand the FHOG entitlements in your state or territory.