Home loans 101: Stamp duty

Stamp duty is one of the most costly factors of buying a home, so it's important to be prepared

25 January 2022|3 minute read

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Buying a home will likely be your biggest purchase, but the expenses don’t stop after you’ve put down your deposit. There are several additional costs associated with buying a home. One of the more significant ones is stamp duty.

In this article, we cover what stamp duty is, how much it'll cost you, when you’ll have to pay it and other frequently asked questions.

What is stamp duty?

Stamp duty, also known as property transfer duty, land transfer duty or transfer duty, is a state and territory government tax charged when you buy land or property.

More broadly speaking, it is a one-off fee for when legal ownership of an asset is transferred to you.

How much will stamp duty cost you?

Stamp duty rates vary between states. Stamp duty is calculated depending on the type of property you’re buying, how much it’s worth and where in Australia it’s located.

The higher in value your property, the more stamp duty you’ll have to pay. As a general rule of thumb, stamp duty will cost you around 3-4% of the property’s value.

If you’d like to calculate the amount of stamp duty you might be charged on the purchase of a property, use our stamp duty calculator.

Can you add stamp duty costs to the principal amount of your home loan?

No, you’ll generally have to pay stamp duty upfront on settlement of the property. This will vary based on location and these requirements are outlined state-by-state in the following section.

However, one way you can accommodate stamp duty is by taking it out of your home deposit, increasing the overall loan amount to compensate.

When do you have to pay stamp duty?

Here’s an overview of when you’ll need to pay stamp duty by state:

New South Wales

In NSW, you must pay stamp duty within 3 months of signing a contract for sale or transfer. For residential units off the plan, this is extended to 12 months.

Victoria

In VIC, you must pay stamp duty within 30 days of signing a contract for sale or transfer to avoid accruing penalties and interest.

Queensland

In QLD, you’ll need to lodge documents before you can register a transfer of land and pay stamp duty. These documents should be lodged 30 days from when they’re signed. You become liable for stamp duty when you receive confirmation that your documents have been assessed.

If you’re borrowing money from a lender, chances are they’ll ask you to pay stamp duty before your loan is settled. After a certain time has lapsed, additional interest and fees may start to accrue.

Tasmania

In TAS, you must pay stamp duty within 3 months days of signing a contract for sale or transfer to avoid accruing penalties and interest.

Western Australia

In WA, you’ll need to lodge certain documents and receive a Duties Assessment Notice before you can pay stamp duty. Stamp duty becomes payable within a month of this date.

You may be eligible for an extension under certain circumstances or may be allowed to pay in instalments. After this time, additional interest and fees may start to accrue.

South Australia

In SA, you become liable for stamp duty when the transaction or sale is finalised and contracts are either exchanged or completed.

Northern Territory

In NT, you must pay stamp duty within 60 days of entering into the transaction or settlement of your property.

Australian Capital Territory

In ACT, you must pay stamp duty after settlement and within 14 days of receiving a Notice of Assessment to avoid accruing penalties and interest.

Where does stamp duty money go?

Stamp duty is a government tax, so it is invested into the economy of the state that collects it. It is generally contributed to the health, transport and roads, police, justice and emergency services sectors.

Can you avoid paying stamp duty?

Different states offer stamp duty concessions and exemptions for different groups, such as pensioners and first home buyers.

For example, the First Home Buyer Assistance scheme (FHBAS) in NSW allows first home buyers to receive a concessional rate on stamp duty if they buy a home valued between $650,000 and $800,000. They are exempt from paying stamp duty altogether if they buy a home valued up to $650,000.

Do you have to pay stamp duty when you refinance?

There may be a chance you’ll be charged stamp duty fees when refinancing, but this isn’t very common.

Stamp duty could be applicable in a refinance if you are adding someone onto the title outside a married/defacto scenario.

Do you have to pay stamp duty on your second home?

Yes, stamp duty is a mandatory tax you'll have to pay on all property title transfers. So, every time you purchase a property, stamp duty will be payable.

This excludes exemptions for groups with specific circumstances, such as first home buyers eligible to take advantage of stamp duty exemptions.

Do you have to pay stamp duty on a home that’s gifted?

Yes, even if your home is gifted to you by a family member or relative, you will still need to pay stamp duty.

This is because the ownership of the property is being transferred from one person to another. This commonly occurs with divorcing couples, parents wanting to help their kids and couples aiming to change ownership shares in investment properties.

There may be exemptions on stamp duty for inherited properties, although these may be subject to inheritance tax.

If you are thinking about gifting a home to another person, or vice versa, it may be a good idea to seek advice from your broker or conveyancer.

If you have any questions on stamp duty, our Aussie Brokers are here to help. Book a time to chat at no cost to you.

Book a chat with an Aussie Broker

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