What is stamp duty?

Stamp duty definition

Stamp duty (or transfer duty) is a state-by-state tax that applies when you buy or acquire a property. Duty applies to properties bought for both owner-occupier and investment purposes. It also applies to properties that you receive as gifts or as part of trusts.

How to pay stamp duty

It’s an upfront cost, which means you need to consider the price of stamp duty when calculating how much you have for your house deposit. You can use our stamp duty calculator if you’re unsure how much stamp duty you’d need to pay. Your stamp duty payment will usually be made on your settlement day.

Do you pay stamp duty when you sell a house?

Many people wonder who pays stamp duty, the buyer or seller? Put simply, stamp duty is always paid for by the buyer. There are however some stamp duty concessions and exceptions which may apply. See below for more information.

Stamp duty concessions and exemptions

Each state has its own concessions and exemptions, but there are some common ones that you may want to be aware of.

First time buyer stamp duty

If you haven’t bought a home before, you may be eligible for a stamp duty exemption or concession. Eligibility requirements and what type of reduction you receive will differ depending on your state or territory. You should confirm the government costs, duties payable and any applicable exemption or concession information with the relevant government authority.

You may also be eligible for the First Home Owners Grant (FHOG) alongside any stamp duty savings.

Stamp duty for new homes

Stamp duty is calculated as a percentage of the value of the property you are buying at the time of purchase. If you are buying a block of land and decide to build a new home on it, you will only pay stamp duty on the value of the land, not your new home. That could represent a significant saving.

Off-the-plan purchases

Buying a property off-the-plan means purchasing before the property has physically been built. This can apply to buying and building on vacant land or buying within a larger complex that has yet to be built. These sorts of purchases can come with concessions on stamp duty and will depend on the dutiable value of the property. Eligibility will be specific to each state.

Stamp duty by state

For more information on how stamp duty applies in your specific state, please refer to your state’s website:

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