Buying a property is a major decision and one that can require a lot of careful planning and budgeting. When doing up a budget, it’s important to consider how much stamp duty you may need to pay, as it could potentially add up to tens of thousands of dollars. In this article, we cover:
- What is stamp duty?
- How is stamp duty calculated in Queensland?
- Who has to pay stamp duty in Queensland?
- When is stamp duty paid in Queensland?
- Who can apply for stamp duty concessions in Queensland?
- What stamp duty concessions apply in Queensland?
- What are the exemptions to paying stamp duty in Queensland?
- What other fees and costs can apply with buying property in Queensland?
- Stamp duty by Australian states and territories
What is stamp duty?
Stamp duty, or transfer duty, is a government tax that commonly applies when property gets transferred from one person to another. It applies to transactions that involve dutiable property, including commercial and investment property. It can also apply for dutiable transactions such as partnership acquisitions, creating or terminating a trust of dutiable property and trust acquisitions and surrenders.
Stamp duty is charged by state and territory governments, so the rules on how it’s calculated will vary from place to place. However, a general rule is that the more expensive your property is, the more stamp duty you’ll need to pay.
Stamp duty is primarily determined by three major factors: the state or territory you’re buying the property in, the value of the property, and whether you’re eligible for any concessions or exemptions. Let’s take a look at how stamp duty is worked out in Queensland.
How is stamp duty calculated in Queensland?
The Queensland Office of State Revenue (OSR) calculates how much stamp duty you owe by applying a set transfer duty rate to the ‘dutiable value’ of your property. Usually your property’s dutiable value will be its market value or the amount you agreed to pay for the property, whichever one is higher. This means that even if you didn’t purchase the property (e.g. if it was a gift or no money was paid), you may still need to pay stamp duty based on the property’s market value.
If you’re a foreign buyer acquiring residential land, the Queensland Government says it imposes an additional duty on top of the standard transfer duty rate. At the time of writing, this additional rate is 7%.
Get an idea of how much stamp duty you’re likely to pay in Queensland with our Stamp Duty Calculator. Select QLD from the dropdown menu to get started.
Who has to pay stamp duty in Queensland?
According to the Queensland Government, anyone who buys or acquires property in Queensland may need to pay stamp duty. Regardless of whether your property is for residential, commercial or investment purposes, you’ll need to pay stamp duty unless you’re eligible for an exemption or your property is valued at less than $5,000. The Queensland Government advises that even property transfers that don’t attract a stamp duty cost will still need to be assessed and stamped by the OSR .
When is stamp duty paid in Queensland?
The Queensland Government explains that you must lodge your stamp duty documents, including any concessions or exemptions you want to claim, with the relevant agency within 30 days after they have been signed. After you lodge your documents and pay the duty, the papers will be stamped and returned to you. Usually you’ll only be able to complete the transfer of property after this has occurred. In addition, according to the Queensland Government, most banks require stamped transfer documents at settlement.
Before you lodge your documents, the OSR or a registered self-assessor (often a solicitor or conveyancer) will assess your documents and advise how much stamp duty you have to pay. Your solicitor or conveyancer may also assist you with completing and lodging stamp duty documents, and they should be able to advise you on key deadlines specific to your transaction.
Who can apply for stamp duty concessions in Queensland?
The Queensland Government advises that only individuals can claim stamp duty concessions. Companies aren’t eligible to claim concessions except when they’re acting as a corporate trustee. Trustees are only eligible in certain limited circumstances. Property investors are required to pay the full amount of transfer duty in Queensland, and only buyers who plan to live in a property may be eligible for a concession, according to the Queensland Government.
What stamp duty concessions apply in Queensland?
If you’re intending to use a property as your home, you may be able to claim a concession to reduce the amount of stamp duty you have to pay, and in some instances, as a result no stamp duty may be payable at all. The Queensland Government offers three home concessions:
What is the home concession and am I eligible?
You may be able to claim the home concession if you’re acquiring a residence that you intend to make your home. According to the OSR, this applies as a lower rate of stamp duty on the first $350,000 of your home’s dutiable value, and could save you up to $7,175 on stamp duty as at the time of writing.
To be eligible for the home concession you must meet the following requirements:
- move into the home with your personal belongings and live there on a daily basis within one year of settlement
- not dispose of (that is sell, transfer, lease etc) all or part of the property before you move in. The OSR advises that to retain the full benefit of the concession, you must also not dispose of any part of the property for at least a year.
What is the first home concession and am I eligible?
In addition to claiming the home concession, if the residence will be your first home you may also be able to claim the first home concession. According to the OSR, as at the time of writing, this could save you up to $15,925 and, depending on the value of the property you’re buying, may even reduce your stamp duty to nothing. Importantly, at the time of writing, the first home concession only applies if the home is valued under $550,000 for stamp duty purposes. But if your property is valued above this, you may still be able to claim the home concession.
To be eligible for the first home concession you must meet the following requirements:
- never have claimed the first home vacant land concession
- never held an interest in a residence anywhere in Australia or overseas
- be at least 18 years old (this requirement may be waived by the government in some circumstances)
- move into the property with your personal belongings and live there on a daily basis within one year of settlement
- not dispose of all or part of the property before you move in. Once again, the OSR advises that to retain the full benefit of the first home concession, you must not dispose of any part of the property for at least a year.
If you’re eligible for the first home concession, stamp duty will be calculated by taking the home concession rate and then deducting the first home concession from this. According to the OSR, if your home is valued at $500,000 or under, the first home concession amount will match the stamp duty you would normally pay based on the home concession rate, meaning you won’t have to pay any stamp duty at all.
What is the first home vacant land concession and am I eligible?
The first home vacant land concession is only available when you acquire land to build your home on, as opposed to buying property which already includes a home. At the time of writing, the OSR states that the concession applies to vacant land valued under $400,000 and could save you up to $7,175. According to the OSR, if the vacant land is valued at less than $260,000, the concession will apply and mean that no stamp duty will be payable.
To be eligible for the first home vacant land concession you must meet the following requirements:
- never have claimed the first home vacant land concession before
- never held an interest in a residence anywhere in Australia or overseas
- be at least 18 years old (this requirement may be waived by the government in certain circumstances)
- be paying market value if vacant land is valued between $320,001 and $399,999
- build your first home on the land, move in with your personal belongings, and live there on a daily basis within two years of settlement
- only build one home on the land
- be certain there is no building, or part of a building, on the land when you acquire it
- not dispose of all or any part of the property before you move in. As with the other two concessions, the OSR advises that to retain the full benefit of the first home vacant land concession, you must not dispose of any part of the property for at least a year.
What are the exemptions to paying stamp duty in Queensland?
In some circumstances, you will be exempt from paying any stamp duty. With home purchases or transfers, the Queensland Government says that exemptions can apply when you change tenure, buy a manufactured (mobile) home, or transfer a share of ownership in your home to your spouse. The Queensland Government has more information about home or property owner exemptions for transfer duty. Other exemptions that can apply include the death of a property owner exemption, which can apply if a property transfer results from a person’s death, like when property is distributed as part of a will.
What other fees and costs can apply with buying property in Queensland?
On top of stamp duty, you’ll also need to pay a mortgage registration fee (if you are buying your property with a home loan) and a land transfer fee. The mortgage registration fee is a charge for registering a home loan, and for registering the property as security on that loan. And don’t forget about solicitor/conveyancing fees, building and pest inspection fees, plus the other upfront costs you might incur when buying a home.
First Home Owners Grant
If you’re buying or building a brand new home and have never owned any Australian property that you’ve lived in, you might be eligible to receive the Queensland First Home Owners Grant. At the time of writing, the government will give those eligible $15,000 towards purchasing or building a new house, unit or townhouse if the value of the land and building is less than $750,000. While you can claim both the First Home Owners Grant and one or more transfer/stamp duty concessions, keep in mind that each has its own different eligibility requirements. You might also find it helpful to learn more about the First Home Super Saver (FHSS) Scheme and how much you could save towards a deposit.
Stamp duty by Australian states and territories
Find out how much stamp duty you pay in different states and territories:
- stamp duty in NSW
- stamp duty in VIC
- stamp duty in SA
- stamp duty in WA
- stamp duty in TAS
- stamp duty in the ACT
- stamp duty in the NT
Additional reporting by Jacqueline Belesky.
Main image source: Maythee Voran/Shutterstock.com