Stamp duty exemptions for residential property: a guide for every state and territory
Stamp duty exemptions vary across Australia. Here's a breakdown of the main exemptions available.
Stamp duty, or transfer duty, is a general tax imposed by state governments 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 costs that purchasers need to allow room for in their budget. Others include conveyancing fees, valuation and mortgage registration.
All land transfers and property sales will incur stamp duty, however there are some concessions and exemptions that could apply. For example, concessions and exemptions may benefit first-home buyers and pensioners, and buyers of low-value properties, deceased estates and off-the-plan new-builds, among others.
Stamp duty is decided by each state or territory government, not the federal government, so rates and exemptions vary state-by-state.
STAMP DUTY IN ACT
Australian Capital Territory
For home buyers planning to live in their new property, contracts for off-the-plan units valued at $500,000 or less, and exchanged on or after 1 July 2021, may be exempt from stamp duty. At least one buyer must live in the property for one consecutive year, commencing within 12 months of the settlement date.
Additionally, owner-occupiers can receive a 43 per cent lower rate of duty for properties valued at $200,000 or under.
First home buyers
From 1 July 2019, under the home buyer concession, first home buyers may be eligible to pay no duty when purchasing their first home, provided that their 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 (usually the greater of the price you paid for the property or its unencumbered market value) of $750,000 or less, and that one of the buyers must move into the home within 12 months of purchasing, and live there continuously for at least 12 months. The buyers cannot have owned any property in the two years preceding the purchasing date.
The Pensioner Duty Concession Scheme provides eligible pensioners who downsize their home with a reduction on the conveyance duty, or stamp duty, payable on the purchase of a residential home or residential vacant land. Properties $490,000 or less have no duty payable, while concessions are available for properties below $642,000. Similarly, a land value of $360,000 attracts no conveyance duty, and values below $432,000 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, visit the ACT Revenue Office website.
STAMP DUTY IN NSW
New South Wales
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.
The NSW Government temporarily increased the purchase price thresholds to qualify for FHBAS from 1 August 2020 to 31 July 2021. From 1 August 2021, the thresholds have reverted to the previous thresholds.
From 1 August, for new homes valued at less than $650,000, existing homes valued less than $650,000, or $350,000 for vacant land, NSW residents may be able to apply for a full exemption. Those purchasing a new home between $650,000 and $800,000, an existing home between $650,000 and $800,000, or vacant land between $350,000 and $450,000, may be eligible for a concessional rate.
There are a few specific definitions and eligibility criteria to note – for example a 'new home' has not been previously occupied or sold as a residence, but also includes a substantially renovated home or a home that's replaced demolished premises – so best check all the details on the NSW Revenue site.
Deferring the stamp duty on off the plan purchases
When purchasing off the plan, buyers are able to defer paying stamp duty for up to 12 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.
STAMP DUTY IN NT
In the Northern Territory, exemptions include those for matrimonial homes, family farms, financial settlements for marriages and de facto relationships, and the distribution of wills, intestacy or company liquidation.
For more information about stamp duty in the Northern Territory, please visit the NT Gov website.
STAMP DUTY IN QLD
In the sunshine state, 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
Additionally, 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.
STAMP DUTY IN SA
Sorry South Australians – there are currently 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, or speak with your lending specialist about investing in property interstate.
STAMP DUTY IN TAS
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 $500,000 or less and also has a dutiable value less than their former home. 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 a couple or caring partners and no other party is involved in the transfer.
For more information about exemptions and concessions in Tasmania, please see the State Revenue Office of Tasmania's website.
STAMP DUTY IN VIC
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 may 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 12 months, commencing within 12 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 – a reduction in stamp duty payable – may be available for home buyers who intend to live in a home for a continuous period of 12 months, beginning within 12 months of purchase, if the 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 buyers.
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 valued between $600,001 and $750,000.
STAMP DUTY IN 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 12 months of purchasing, and live there continuously for at least six months (or within 12 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.
Thinking about buying a property? Speak with our Lending Specialist about the stamp duty considerations and other costs you'll need to consider.
This article was last updated on 27 August 2021. This material has been prepared for information purposes only. This should not be taken as constituting professional tax advice and stamp duty is subject to change. You should consider seeking independent legal, financial, taxation or other advice to determine how this information relates to your own circumstances.