What is Stamp Duty and how does it work?

This article will give you an overview of stamp duty, including what it is, who may have to pay it, and how much it could cost. We’ll also include a stamp duty calculator to help you work out your potential costs.
Young couple researching stamp duty information

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Stamp Duty Calculator

If you’re thinking about home ownership, you can’t forget about stamp duty. If you plan on ever owning property, it’s something most of us will have to pay at some point in our lives and generally, we won’t be happy about it. It’s a cost which is often overlooked, but important to consider when we’re budgeting for buying property. So if you’re planning to buy your first home (or your third), read on to learn more about stamp duty.

What is stamp duty or land transfer tax?

Stamp duty is also known by the more descriptive name: land transfer tax. As that implies, stamp duty is a charge made on Australian real estate purchases. The states set their own levels of duty, and the funds collected go towards paying for that state’s essential services and infrastructure projects. It’s a one-off cost that you’ll need to factor in when budgeting for your home loan. Payment of stamp duty is due when the property is settled or within one month of the settlement date. Unless you are exempt, stamp duty must be paid on every property purchase you make. So, it can deter a lot of homeowners from moving around too often.

Who is required to pay stamp duty?

Generally, if you’re purchasing a property or land, it’s the purchaser, so that would be you. There are other times stamp duty is charged, but most of the time when people talk about stamp duty, they are referring to stamp duty on property purchases.

Who is exempt from stamp duty?

Some home or property buyers are exempt from paying stamp duty, but this varies between states. First home buyers, for example, are exempt in New South Wales and Victoria on residential owner-occupied properties up to a certain value. Moneysmart has links to state and territory revenue offices to give you more detailed information about any exemptions in your state, as well as state relevant stamp duty calculators.

How much will stamp duty cost me?

Stamp duty is generally calculated on the combined value of the buildings and land which are being purchased, not necessarily on the amount actually paid. For ‘off-the-plan’ purchases, often the building has not commenced and has no value yet, therefore, there is no duty to be paid on the building portion of the purchase.

How much stamp duty you pay will vary between states and territories. Our stamp duty calculator is very simple to use and will give you an indication of the likely charges you’ll be up for. By entering some simple information about your specific situation, the calculator can give you a projection of fees based on your individual circumstances. For more specific information relating to your state or territory, we have also included some links below.

Stamp duty in Australian states and territories

Click one of the links below for detailed stamp duty information relevant in your state.

Stamp Duty by Australian States and Territories

When do I have to pay stamp duty?

Stamp duty is an upfront cost, so it’s generally paid when your property purchase is settled or within 30 days of the settlement date. Payment is usually arranged by the lawyer or conveyancer handling the purchase on your behalf.

Can I add stamp duty to my home loan?

No, stamp duty has to be paid at settlement. It’s a cost you’ll have to have to budget for and have on hand on top of your property deposit. After your home loan deposit, stamp duty will typically be your biggest up-front expense. If necessary, check with your state revenue office.

In some states it is possible to defer, reduce or get a concession on your stamp duty, so it’s worth a look. So, there you have it: the ogre that is stamp duty. Like many monsters, the biggest danger is if it takes you by surprise. Hopefully this article and calculator will help you avoid any nasty shocks.

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Last updated: 09/09/2021