Getting the most out of stamp duty exemptions in your state
This article was last updated on 22 March 2021.
Buying a property is one of the biggest purchases that you will ever make, so understanding and preparing for outgoings, and what exemptions you might be entitled to could make a huge difference to your financial position.
Stamp duty, or transfer duty, is a general tax imposed by the state government on the purchase or transfer of almost any real estate.
Understanding the exemptions and concessions available to you can significantly reduce the costs associated with buying or transferring property, especially between family members, for pensioners, farmers and even first home buyers.
Stamp duty is just one of the few settlement costs that purchasers need to allow room for in their budget. Others include conveyancing fees, valuation and mortgage registration.
Stamp duty exemptions and concessions for your state
Stamp duty is decided by each state or territory government, not the federal government, so rates and exceptions vary state-by-state.
- Australian Capital Territory (ACT)
- New South Wales (NSW)
- Northern Territory (NT)
- Queensland (QLD)
- South Australia (SA)
- Tasmania (TAS)
- Victoria (VIC)
- Western Australia (WA)
Australian Capital Territory (ACT)
For home buyers planning to live in their new property, contracts exchanged between 4 June 2020 and 30 June 2021 are exempt from stamp duty (known as conveyance duty) for:
- Single residential dwelling blocks
- Off-the-plan apartments and townhouses up to $500,000
Additionally, owner-occupiers who purchase an off-the-plan apartment or townhouse between $500,000 and $750,000 are eligible for a $11,400 stamp duty reduction.
First home buyers
From 1 July 2019, under the home buyer concession, there is no payable duty when purchasing your first home, provided that your gross income is under the threshold ($160,000 p.a. without children, and incrementally increasing with the addition of children) and that one of the buyers must move into the home within twelve months of purchasing, and live there continuously for at least twelve months.
Help for those with a disability
Under the disability duty concession scheme, ACT residents who qualify for the NDIS can access a stamp duty concession when purchasing a home with a dutiable value of $750,000 or less, and that one of the buyers must move into the home within twelve months of purchasing, and live there continuously for at least twelve months.
The Pensioner Duty Concession Scheme has been extended to 30 June 2021, providing eligible pensioners who downsize their home a reduction on the conveyance duty payable on the purchase of a residential home or residential vacant land. Properties $440,000 or less have $0 duty payable, while concessions are available for properties below $570,000. Similarly, a land value of $278,650 attracts no conveyance duty, and values below $390,000 have duty concessions.
There are also options to defer conveyance duty for those eligible for the First Home Owner Grant, Home Buyer Concession Scheme, or the Pensioner Duty Concession Scheme. For more information about stamp duty in the ACT, please see the ACT Revenue Office website.
New South Wales (NSW)
First home buyers
Under the First Home Buyer Assistance scheme, those looking to enter the market for the first time may be able to access an exemption or concessional rate on the transfer duty applicable to their purchase.
For new homes valued at less than $800,000, existing homes valued less than $650,000, or $400,000 for vacant land, NSW residents may be able to apply for a full exemption. For those purchasing a new home between $800,000 and $1 million, an existing home between $650,000 and $800,000, or vacant land between $400,000 and $500,000, may be eligible for a concessional rate.
Deferring the stamp duty on off the plan purchases
When purchasing off the plan, buyers are able to defer the stamp duty for up to twelve months after signing the agreement, or until the property is completed or handed over, provided that it is intended as the main residence.
Other exemptions and concessions to know
Some property transfers between family members may also qualify for an exemption or concession, as do property inheritances and gifts.
For more information about other exemptions, please see the Revenue NSW website.
Northern Territory (NT)
Territory Home Owner Discount
Under the Territory Home Owner Discount, a reduction of up to $18,601 is available for the settlement of home or land on or before 30 June 2021 for those who have not had a relevant interest in a property in the NT in the previous 24 months. The conditions around this are that the home is $650,000 or less, you have not been paid (or won't be paid) another grant, discount, concession or rebate by the Commissioner of Territory Revenue for the home or land, one of the buyers must move into the home within twelve months of purchasing, and live there continuously for at least six months.
Help for concession card holders
Seniors, pensioners and carers over the age of 60 may be eligible for a reduction of up to $10,000 in stamp duty when buying a home or land to build a home. To be eligible for this concession the home must have a dutiable value of $750,000 or less, or $385,000 or less when purchasing land. This concession is available for contracts of sale entered into on or before 1 July 2021.
In the Northern Territory, exemptions exist for matrimonial homes, family farms, financial settlements for marriages and de facto relationships, and the distribution of wills, intestacy or company liquidation.
First home buyers
Unfortunately, the first home owner discount, is no longer available in the NT; however, if you purchased an established home with a dutiable value of up to $650,000 on or before 30 June 2021, you can apply for up to $18,601 off your stamp duty under the Territory Home Owner Discount (see above).
For more information about stamp duty in the Northern Territory, please visit the NT Gov website.
The home concession can save anyone purchasing a home (not just first home buyers) up to $7,175 off the transfer duty payable. This concession applies to the first $350,000 of the value, and the general transfer duty rates apply thereafter.
To be eligible, buyers must move into the home and live there on a daily basis within one year of settlement, and not dispose of the property (in whole or part) before moving in, or within one year of moving in.
First home buyers
In the sunshine state, the first home concession is available for first home buyers buying a home valued under $550,000, and can save those eligible up to $15,925 off their transfer duty. This concession can be applied in addition to the home concession (see above), and means home values at $500,000 or under have no duty payable.
Similarly, when acquiring vacant land for the purpose of building a first home, buyers could be eligible for a transfer duty rebate under the first home vacant land concession. The concession can save buyers up to $7,175 for purchases under $400,000. For vacant land under $250,000, no transfer duty is payable.
For more information about stamp duty concessions, please see the Queensland Government website.
South Australia (SA)
Unlike many other States and Territories, South Australia currently offers no stamp duty concessions or exemptions for first home buyers, new builds or off-the-plan apartments.
For information about stamp duty in South Australia, please see the Revenue SA website.
First home buyers
Under the duty concession for first home buyers of established homes, a 50 per cent concession is available for established properties with a dutiable value of up to $400,000. To be eligible for the concession, buyers must not have previously owned a home in Australia, or accessed the First Home Owner Grant in any state or territory.
Help for pensioners
Pensioners who sell their home in Tasmania and downsize by purchasing another home in Tasmania, could be eligible for a 50 per cent concession on the transfer duty of their new home, provided it has a dutiable value of $400,000 or less and also have a dutiable value less than the former home. Currently, until 30 June 2020, To access this concession, they must meet special requirements relating to eligibility of the individual (or individuals) and property sale.
Transfers for personal relationships
Transfers in personal relationships are exempt from duty if the property is the parties' principal place of residence at the time of transfer. Other eligibility requirements include that the property must be held as joint tenants or tenants in common, and the parties to the transfer are the couple or caring partners and no other party is involved in the transfer.
For more information about exemptions and concession in Tasmania, please see the State Revenue Office of Tasmania's website.
First home buyers
Since 1 July 2017, the first home buyer duty exemption or concession has been applicable to contracts of sale.
If the value of the home is up to $600,000, qualifying first home buyers will be exempt from transfer duty. Properties valued between $600,001 and $750,000 are eligible for the first home buyer duty concession, which consists of a sliding scale of concessional duties based on the property value.
To be eligible for the exemption or concession, buyers must use the property as the principal place of residence for a continuous period of twelve months, commencing within twelve months of settlement, and at least one applicant must satisfy residency requirements.
Principal place of residence (PPR) concession
The principal place of residence (PPR) concession is available for all home buyers who intend to live in the home for a continuous period of 12 months and who property is valued up to $550,000.
Off the plan
Off the plan purchases may be eligible for the off-the-plan duty concession. This concession means home buyers only pay stamp duty on the dutiable value of the home, which is the contract price minus the construction or refurbishment costs incurred on or after the contract date. To be eligible, buyers must also be eligible for either the principal place of residence concession or the first home buyer exemption concession. The dutiable value of the home must be $750,000 or less for first home buyers, or $550,000 or less for home buyer.
Help for pensioners
Eligible pensioners may be entitled to access a once-only exemption or concession to help them access the property market. Properties valued up to $330,000 are exempt from transfer duty, while properties valued between $330,001 and $750,000 may qualify for a concessional rate to their duty. In order to be eligible, pensioners must hold an approved concession card, buy the property at market value and intend to live in the home as their principal place of residence.
To ease the burden on those looking to purchase a farm or move into the farming industry, the young farmer duty exemption or concession is available to buyers under 35, purchasing their first farmland property, and carrying on (or intending to carry on) a business of primary production in relation to the purchased property. Farmland valued at $600,000 or less may qualify for an exemption, and a concession from duty is available for properties values between $600,001 and $750,000.
Western Australia (WA)
First home buyers
In Western Australia, first home buyers are exempt from stamp duty on purchases up to $430,000 and concessions are available up to $530,000. There are also living requirements to keep in mind; one of the first home buyers must move into the home within twelve months of purchasing, and live there continuously for at least six months (or within twelve months of completion if building).
Farms used solely for primary production can be transferred to a family member without stamp duty. However, there can be no exemption for any subsequent transaction of the same land within five years.
Transfers between spouses
Similarly, transfers between spouses or de facto partners are also exempt. To qualify for a spousal exemption, the parties must be married or in a de facto partnership for at least two years, use the property solely or dominantly for residential purposes and be the principal place of residence for the spouses or de facto partners at the time of transfer.
For information about other exemptions, please see the WA Department of Finance website.
If you're thinking about buying, it's a good idea to speak to a financial planner or Lending Specialist to give you the best indication of which concessions or exemptions you might be able to access
This article was last updated on 22 March 2021. The opinions expressed in this article are the opinions of the author(s) and not necessarily those of homeloans.com.au. The above is general commentary only and is not advice tailored to any individual's financial situation. We recommend seeking advice from a finance professional before implementing changes relating to your finances.