Stamp Duty

This duty, set out in the Duties Act 2000 and administered by the State Revenue Office, constantly arises as an issue in most property transactions, including all purchases of real estate. Nowadays this is handled electronically via the Duties Online System. Where stamp duty becomes particularly interesting is the application of the applicable exemptions.

These include those available in the case of:

  • a purchase by first home buyer;
  • the transfer of a farm to a near relative. This extends to a transfer to a discretionary trust which limits the distribution of such properties to near relatives;
  • the transfer of real estate from the trustee of a discretionary trust to a beneficiary of that trust. Amongst other things, duty must have been paid when the property was transferred to the trust, and, significantly, the SRO is satisfied there is no consideration for the transfer. A trap, which requires very careful treatment, is the fact that the SRO will take the view there is such consideration where there are, following the transfer, private loan accounts and there are insufficient remaining assets to meet those loans;
  • a gift of real estate to a self managed superannuation fund by way of undeducted contribution from a member;
  • a transfer of real estate from the trustee of a self managed superannuation fund to a member of that fund, in satisfaction of their entitlement under the fund; and
  • a transfer of real estate from a retiring trustee to a new trustee.
In all cases great care must be taken to comply with the detailed requirements of the State Revenue Office.