Lodge a building permit levy return

The building permit levy is collected by the Relevant Building Surveyor (RBS) and forwarded to the VBA in a monthly return.

Returns and building permit levies must be collected and paid by the seventh day of the following month (e.g. January's return is to be lodged and paid by 7 February).

The preferred method of lodgment is via email – returns@vba.vic.gov.au.

Note: Building surveyors that manually post returns must ensure that the VBA receives the return no later than the seventh day of the month.

The following documents are associated with the lodgment of monthly levy returns:

Note: The amount of building permit levy is not subject to GST under a determination made under section 81-5 of A New Tax System (Goods and Services Tax) Act 1999.

Format of returns

A single electronic return can be lodged, provided the information is prescribed in the required file format, and sent to returns@vba.vic.gov.au.

A copy of the file format is available in Appendices 4, 5 and 6 of the Levy Reference Guide.

The return is to include details of:

  • all building permits issued in the relevant month, including permits where the cost of building work/contract sum is $10,000 or less
  • a "Nil" return is required to be lodged if there are no details to report
  • building permits issued where the project is exempt from the building permit levy, such as building work undertaken for the Crown in the right of the Commonwealth of Australia (where no levy is payable, complete the estimated value of building work/contract sum and leave the levy amount field blank, or if completing the return manually write 'exempt')

Certificate data returns

Building surveyors must submit a monthly certificate data return, which provides details of the building work that has commenced or been completed. It also provides details of whether the building permit has lapsed or if the building project has been abandoned.

View the common levy audit findings and reporting requirements information sheet for details of what must be included in the report.

For building work commencement, completion or lapsed returns:

  • details must be completed in respect of any building permit issued by a building surveyor where work is commenced, completed, abandoned or lapsed during the month
  • building surveyors must include details of all building permits issued, including those permits where the cost of building work is $10,000 or less, or where the owner of the building work is exempt from the building permit levy
  • a "Nil" return is required to be lodged if there are no details to report.

Method of lodgement

Building surveyors can select a method of lodging returns that suits their individual or business needs. (For example, building surveyors may be self-employed or employed by a municipal council or large building surveying company).

This arrangement is subject to the building surveyor advising the VBA's Levy Unit of any variation in the status affecting the method of lodgement within seven days.

To inform the VBA's Levy Unit about changes to the intended method of lodgement, building surveyors must complete the Method of Lodgement Form.

Please refer to the method of lodgement selection guide when completing the lodgement form.

Completed forms should be emailed to returns@vba.vic.gov.au.

Amended Regulations July 2018 (affecting Levy/building permits)

Reporting information about Levy and building permits after 1 July 2018

Information the relevant building surveyor must give to the VBA (Regulation 47b and 47c)

Regulation 47 of Building Regulations 2018 states that in your monthly return you must provide the VBA with the following details relating to each building permit issued:


  1. whether any of the building work will be carried out on an allotment in a designated bushfire prone area determined under the legislation and the applicable bushfire attack level determined for that allotment;
  2. whether the building work relates to a change of use of a building;
  3. whether the building work involves the construction of a private bushfire shelter.

(c)details of any notice given to the relevant council under section 80A(3)(a) or (4)(a) of the Act during that month, if the relevant building surveyor is a registered body corporate

Regulation 47(b): you do not need to change your procedure as part of this regulation, as you should already be reporting the listed items. However, 47(c) will be required to submitted to the VBA within your monthly Levy Return.

Please see below for further information:

  1. as Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) within the building permit description field.
  2. as Nature of Work (NOW) code 5.
  3. via BCA code 10C.

(c) details of the Designated Building Surveyor (DBS) for each permit must be reported for Body Corporates.

For further information, please email returns@vba.vic.gov.au.