Stamp duty is one of the heaviest one-off payments you will make towards the purchase of a property - usually second only to the deposit itself.
Otherwise known as land transfer duty, stamp duty is a tax imposed by the state and territory governments whenever a buyer purchases a property, whether they be a first-home owner or investor – and it can even be enforced when a property is handed over without the new owner having paid a cent towards it, such as when the property is a gift.
The buyer is required to pay the stamp duty fee directly to the state or territory’s revenue office, but the process is best handled with the assistance of a solicitor or conveyancer.
- New South Wales
- South Australia
- Western Australia
- Northern Territory
- Australian Capital Territory
How much is stamp duty?
Rates depend on the state or territory, and on the type of property purchased and its value – the more a buyer pays for their home, the higher the stamp duty will be.
It's easy to forget about stamp duty in the home buying process, but it can add up to thousands and minimise your borrowing power.
A buyer can also explore options as to how the stamp duty fee can be reduced, by either buying a property that costs less, or looking into purchasing within another state that is governed by more affordable stamp duty laws and benefits.
Can you avoid stamp duty?
Certain exemptions and concessions apply. For instance, if the property is transferred between family members as a result of a death or divorce, the new owner will not need to pay the stamp duty upon acceptance of the property’s change-of-hand. Some states also waiver stamp duty for first-home buyers up to a certain value, and there are also concession rates for them, as well as for pensioners, carers and farmers.
It’s also worth being mindful of stamp duty’s purpose. The collected funds are put towards upscaling and improving your state or territory’s services, ranging from healthcare, law enforcement, planning and infrastructure, to name a few. So, it’s sometimes added peace of mind that your money will be going towards the greater benefit. That said, back in the year 2000, the introduction of the GST was meant to replace stamp duty. Go figure.
In providing an overall run-down of stamp duty, it’s fundamental to understand that its costs significantly vary, and it’s advised to discuss your stamp duty options earlier on with a solicitor or conveyancer prior to purchasing a property. This allows you to be financially prepared for what’s to come and gives you the opportunity to forward plan, especially if you need to accumulate extra income towards it – just as likely to be done with gathering the deposit.
To help get you prepared, as well as understand when stamp duty needs to be paid, here is a snapshot of stamp duty as applicable to your state or territory.
New South Wales stamp duty cost
Stamp duty fees can be found in full on the state’s revenue office online – but standard rates for properties purchased for over $800k are as follows.
- Purchases made from $83,000 to $313,000: $1,340 plus $3.50 for every $100 over $83,000.
- Purchases made from $313,000 to $1.043m: $9,390 plus $4.50 for every $100 over $313,000.
- Purchases made for over $1.043m: $42,240 plus $5.50 for every $100 over $1.043m.
- Residential purchases made for over $3.131m: $157,080 plus $7 for every $100 over $3.131m.
If you are a first-home buyer, you are likely off the hook for all or part of the stamp duty provided the property value is less than $1 million.
NSW stamp duty needs to be paid to the state’s revenue office no later than 3 months after settlement day. In the case of off-plan purchases, as long as you plan to reside in the property, there’s a chance you may be eligible to postpone the tax for up to 12 months.
Victoria stamp duty cost
The VIC revenue office online details both owner-occupied and investment property rates – but general rates are:
- $130,000 to $960,000: $2,870 plus 6% of the dutiable value over $130,000
- $960,000 to $2 million: 5.5% of the dutiable value
- Over $2 million: $110,000 plus 6.5% of the dutiable value over $2m.
If you are a first-home owner, you will not be required to pay stamp duty as long as your property value is $600k or under, and if it happens to be over this amount, as long it doesn’t sit over $750k, you will be eligible for a concession rate. Such rates may also be reaped by pensioners, farmers, and those purchasing from a plan.
Stamp duty in VIC is required to be paid by the purchaser 30 days after the property is transferred.
Queensland stamp duty cost
The fees are fully outlined on the state’s revenue office online portal – but standard rates for properties purchased for $75,000 onwards are as follows.
- Purchases made from $75k to $540k: $1,050 will need to be paid, plus $3.50 for every $100 or part thereof which the value is above $75,000.
- Purchases made from $540k to $1m: $17,325 will need to be paid, plus $4.50 for every $100 or part thereof which the value is above $540,000.
- Purchases made for more than $1m: $38,025 will need to be paid, plus $5.75 for every $100 or part thereof which the value is above $1m.
Different stamp duty rates apply to properties you plan to reside in, which can turn out to be more affordable, and if it happens to be your first home, you will receive a discount as long as the property is valued below $550k. If the home is valued at less than $500,000, first home buyers may not need to pay any transfer duty.
In QLD, stamp duty is payable to the state’s revenue office no later than 30 days after settlement of the property.
South Australia stamp duty cost
The full breakdown is outlined on SA’s revenue office online – but standard fees for properties purchased for $250,000 and up are generally as follows.
- Purchases that exceed $250k but no more than $300k: $8,955 will need to be paid, plus $4.75 for every $100 or part thereof which the value is above $250k.
- Purchases that exceed $300k but no more than $500k: $11,330 will need to be paid, plus $5 for every $100 or part thereof which the value is above $300k.
- Purchases that exceed $500k: $21,330 will need to be paid, plus $5.50 for every $100 or part thereof which the value is above $500k.
Unlike other states, South Australia does not offer concessions or exemptions for first home buyers. That said, you may be eligible for SA’s first home bonus grant, helping alleviate some pressure.
Stamp duty in SA is usually required to be paid on or before settlement day.
Tasmania stamp duty cost
The complete list of fees can be accessed on TAS revenue office online – but purchases made for over $200k are as follows.
- Purchases that exceed $200k but no more than $375k: $5,935 will need to be paid, plus $4 for every $100 or part thereof which the value is above $200k.
- Purchases that exceed $375k but no more than $725k: $12,935 will need to be paid, plus $4.25 for every $100 or part thereof which the value is above $375k.
- Purchases over $725k: $27,810 will need to be paid, plus $4.50 for every $100 or part thereof which the value is above $725k.
These rates have not changed since 2013.
Stamp duty concession rates are available to first-home buyers, and to pensioners downsizing their homes.
For first home buyers, they may be eligible for a 50% discount off the duty on established homes provided the value is worth less than $600,000.
Stamp duty in TAS needs to be paid by the purchaser within three months after the property is transferred, which is usually included in the paperwork signed on settlement day.
Western Australia stamp duty cost
A complete run-down of fees can be accessed via the state’s revenue office online – but general rates, starting from properties purchased over $100k are as follows.
- Purchases from $100,001 and $250k: $2,090 will need to be paid, plus $3.80 for every $100 or part thereof which the value is above $100k.
- Purchases from $250,001 and $500k: $7,790 will need to be paid, plus $4.75 for every $100 or part thereof which the value is above $250k.
- Purchases at $500,001 or over: $19,665 will need to be paid, plus $5.15 for every $100 or part thereof which the value is above $500k.
if a first home buyer is eligible for the First Home Owner Grant, a concessional rate of duty will apply if the value of the property is below $530,000 for a house or for vacant land valued up to $400,000.
In WA, a buyer has two months after settlement day to apply for a Duties Assessment Notice through the state’s revenue office. Once the office issues back the notice, which states the stamp duty rate, a buyer then has one month to lodge the payment.
Northern Territory stamp duty cost
Out of all the states and territories, Northern Territory has gone full Einstein - it has a complex formula for properties valued up to $550,000. Are you ready for it?
It's D = (0.06571441 x V² ) + 15V.
'V' refers to one one-thousandth (1/1000) of the property's value.
On a $400,000 property this essentially means you'd be on the hook for $16,514.30 in stamp duty. It’s best to input the property value into the state’s stamp duty calculator, accessed through the Northern Territory Government webpage.
Other rates are as follows:
- $525,001 to $3 million: 4.95% of the property value
- $3m to $5m: 5.75% of the property value
- More than $5m: 5.95% of the property value
Up until 30 June 2021 the NT Government had concessions for first home buyers, but this is no longer the case.
If purchasing in the NT, stamp duty is payable 60 days after the transfer of the property is legally finalised, which would occur on settlement day.
Australian Capital Territory stamp duty cost
The ACT calls it 'conveyance duty'. Some of the rates are as follows:
- $300,001 to $500,000: $4,600 plus $3.40 per $100 over $300,000.
- $500,001 to $750,000: $11,400 plus $4.32 per $100 over $500,000.
- $750,001 to $1m: $22,200 plus $5.90 per $100 over $750,000.
- $1,000,001 to $1,454,999: $36,950 plus $6.40 per $100 over $1m.
- $1,455,000 and over: A flat rate of $4.54 per $100.
As part of reforms introduced over the past few years, there are various concessions in place:
- No stamp duty payable on off the plan units up to a value of $600,000.
- Reduced stamp duty payable for owner occupiers purchasing property from $200,000 to $1,455,000
- First home buyers may pay reduced or no stamp duty up to a certain income level, depending on how many dependents they have.
As part of the new Barrier Free Model introduced by the Government as part of tax reforms, an application needs to be submitted to Canberra Access no later than 14 days after settlement.
Once the buyer receives a Notice of Assessment back, they then have 14 days to pay the instructed stamp duty costs. A lot of changes have occurred since 2017 - and later 2019 - to rates and procedures, so it’s advised to use the ACT revenue office’s online calculator to determine an approximate stamp duty rate.
More currently, pensioner and disability concession schemes are able to be obtained.
Also read: Frequently asked questions about stamp duty
For further, and more detailed information on how stamp duty applies in your state, it’s advised to gain the professional help of an expert, such as a mortgage broker, solicitor or conveyancer who operates in the state you are buying within. You can also visit the following Government websites:
- NSW State Revenue Office
- Queensland Treasury
- South Australia Revenue Office
- Tasmanian State Revenue Office
- Northern Territory Treasury
- Western Australia Department of Finance
- Victorian State Revenue Office
- Australian Capital Territory State Revenue Office
Details were correct at time of writing in June 2022.
Article first published by Nina Cuturic, 17 March 2019. Last updated by Harrison Astbury, 17 June 2022.
Collections: Stamp Duty