Home Buying

Stamp duty exemptions in Australia the complete guide

Luke Harris
Jul 27, 2021
Yard Financial Pty Ltd | ACN 623 357 513 | Australian Credit Licence 509481

Table of Contents

Purchasing a property in Australia comes with a range of upfront costs, one of which is stamp duty or transfer duty. To encourage more Australians to get into the property market, the state and territory governments offer stamp duty exemptions and concessions to different types of purchasers.

What is stamp duty?

Stamp duty or transfer duty is a tax imposed by the state and territory governments on purchasing or transferring land or property. The cost of stamp duty is set by the relevant state or territory government. It is often based on multiple factors relating to you as a buyer and the property or land itself. The cost of stamp duty is set by the relevant state or territory government.

State by state breakdown of stamp duty exemptions and concessions

Each state and territory set the rate of stamp duty paid on real estate in their state or territory and have unique stamp duty exemptions and concessions on offer.

NSW stamp duty exemptions and concessions

  • First home buyers: Stamp duty exemption is available to some first home buyers in NSW, but there are property or land value thresholds that apply. First home buyers that don’t qualify for stamp duty exemptions may be eligible for stamp duty concessions for first home buyers in NSW. There are additional property value thresholds that apply for the first home buyer stamp duty concessions in NSW.
  • Deceased estates: If you inherit a property via a will, you'll only be required to pay a concessional rate of stamp duty. However, if you've inherited the property as a co-owner and wish to sell your share to the other owners, you'll have to pay stamp duty on your share of the property.
  • Off-the-plan purchases. If you purchase an apartment off the plan, you're able to defer payment of stamp duty for up to 12 months from the date you sign your agreement or until the property is completed, whichever comes first.
  • Property transfers following family breakups. If you're going through a breakup, you're exempt from paying stamp duty when transferring the ownership of the family home. The transfer needs to be made from one partner to the other or from both spouses names into a single person name. A de facto relationship is considered one where you've been living together for two years.

To find out more information, check the NSW Government's website.

Victoria stamp duty exemptions and concessions

The Victorian government currently has a transfer duty waiver on all residential property transactions of up to $1 million. This could mean you have an additional 25% - 50% duty waiver on top of the below concessions for purchases made before 1 July 2021. 

  • First home buyers. There are exemptions and concessions available to Victorian first home buyers that purchase a primary residence. Property value thresholds and other eligibility criteria do apply.
  • Principal place of residence. If you purchase a home, even if you're not a first home buyer, you may be eligible for a concession on stamp duty for your principal place of residence.
  • Deceased estates. The transfer of a property between a deceased person and a beneficiary is exempt from stamp duty. Any further transfers of the property outside of the guidance of the will are subject to stamp duty.
  • Transfer between spouse or partner. The transfer of the principal place of residence from one spouse to another is exempt from duty. One of the spouses must have lived in the property for at least commencing within 12 months of the transfer.
  • Off-the-plan purchases. If you're purchasing an off-the-plan property in Victoria, the cost of construction of your property will be deducted from the purchase price to work out the dutiable value. This will mean you pay a reduced rate of duty than if you purchased the property fully constructed.
  • Pensioners. If you hold an eligible pension or concession card, you may be entitled to a once-off stamp duty exemption or concession depending on the property's value. This is applicable whether you're buying off-the-plan, an established property or a property that is built within three years of purchasing the land. You must be using the property as your primary residence.
  • Farmers. To those looking to purchase a farm or get into the farming industry, there are multiple concessions available on stamp duty when you buy a farm. If you're a young person buying your first farm or having the family farm transferred into your name, you may qualify for a stamp duty exemption or concession.

To find out more information, check the Victorian Government's website.

ACT stamp duty exemptions and concessions

  • Homebuyer concessions. All property buyers in the ACT are eligible to apply for a stamp duty exemption or concession as long as the household income falls below the income threshold. You must also live in the property for at least one year, starting within 12 months after the date of completion.
  • Pensioner duty assistance. You can either get a stamp duty concession or deferral if one purchaser is a pensioner or other approved concessions. The property must be being used as a primary residence.
  • Disability concession scheme. To help encourage those with a disability to move into their own residence rather than rely on government accommodation, the ACT Government offers a stamp duty exemption. To receive this exemption, you have to fulfil the eligibility requirements
  • Deceased estate. Any property transferred under the instructions of a will is exempt from stamp duty.
  • Matrimonial transfers. Duty is not payable on any transfer or transaction made under the family law or other court order for the distribution of property due to the end of a relationship.
  • Spouse principal place of residence transfers. A spouse includes a civil union partner, civil partner or de facto spouse. A stamp duty exemption is available when transferring property between spouses when both parties are joint tenants or tenants in common.
  • Intergenerational rural transfers. Stamp duty exemptions may apply when transferring farmland to a yonder generation within the same family.
  • Bankruptcy and insolvency transfers. When a property is being transferred due to the appointment of a receiver or trustee in bankruptcy, the selection of a liquidator or similar stamp duty exemption applies.

To find out more information, check the ACT Government's website.

QLD stamp duty exemptions and concessions

  • Homebuyer concessions. All home buyers in QLD are eligible for a stamp duty concession when purchasing a primary residence. The concessional duty rate applies to the first $350,00 of the property’s value and the remainder will be charged at the standard duty rate.
  • First home buyers. First home buyers in QLD are eligible for a concession on top of the home buyer concession when they purchase their first home or a vacant block of land for their first home.
  • Death of a property owner. When a property transfer is occurring to fulfil the guidance of a will, a stamp duty exemption applies.
  • Matrimonial exemptions. Following the breakdown of marriage, any property transfer under the guidance of the courts is exempt from stamp duty.
  • Change of tenure between joint tenants or tenants in common. You have a stamp duty exemption if you transfer or agree to transfer ownership from tenants in common to joint tenants or vice versa. This is dependent on the ownership value not changing, and it is your primary residence.
  • Transfer a portion to your spouse. You may be eligible for a stamp duty exemption if you're transferring an interest in your property to your spouse as a gift and you plan to be tenants in common. The property needs to be your primary residence.
  • Manufactured homes. Stamp duty exemptions apply if you purchase a manufactured home that is either positioned on-site under a site agreement or has been acquired to be positioned on-site under a site agreement.

To find out more information, check the QLD Government's website.

SA stamp duty exemptions and concessions

The SA Government no longer offers any first home buyer concessions on stamp duty however there are concessions available that may also apply to first home buyers.

  • Transfer between spouses or domestic partners. Stamp duty exemptions apply when transferring property between spouses or domestic partners or former spouses or domestic partners. This means when you transfer property from one spouse to another or from being under both names to being under a single name, there is no stamp duty paid.
  • Family farm exemption. The transfer of farmland or land used for primary production may be eligible for stamp duty exemption when transferred between family members or similar. 
  • Inherited property. Stamp duty exemptions apply when you acquire land or property under the provisions of a will or under the rules of intestacy. 

To find out more information, check the SA Government's website.

Tasmania stamp duty exemptions and concessions

  • First home buyers. A 50% concession is available on the purchase of established properties by a first-time buyer in Tasmania. There are property value thresholds that apply.
  • Pensioners. A 50% concession on stamp duty is available to eligible pensioners who sell their former home in Tasmania and downsize to a new home in Tasmania.
  • Personal Relationships. There are stamp duty exemptions available when a property is transferred between partners in a marriage, a significant relationship or a caring relationship.

To find out more information, check the Tasmania Government's website.

WA stamp duty exemptions and concessions

  • First home buyers. There are stamp duty exemptions and concessions available to first home buyers in WA when they purchase a property as their primary residence. Whether you qualify for an exemption or a concession will depend on the property's value.
  • Family farms. If you're using the property for the purpose of primary production, you are free to transfer the property to another family member and are exempt from stamp duty.
  • Transfers between spouses. You can apply for a stamp duty exemption if you're transferring a primary residence between married spouses or de facto partners of two years. This applies whether you're transferring from a sole owner to both spouses or from both spouses into a sole owner.

To find out more information, check the WA Government's website.

NT stamp duty exemptions and concessions

  • Territory Home Owner Discount. If you're buying or building a home or purchasing land to build on, you may be entitled to a concession on your stamp duty. This discount is available to all purchasers in NT as long as you live in it for at least six months, and the contract date is before 30 June 2021.
  • Seniors, pensioners and carers. If you're over 60 years of age or are a member of the NT Concessions Scheme, you may be eligible for a concession on stamp duty. This concession is available on the purchase of a property or land on which you intend to build a house to live. 
  • Transfer between family members. Some stamp duty exemptions are available when transferring the family or marital home or farm between family members. 
  • Deceased estates. If the transfer is happening for the purpose of fulfilling the instructions of a will from a deceased estate, it is exempt from stamp duty.
  • Transfer between trustees. If the property is owned by a trustee or company and the owner needs to be transferred due to death or dissolution, there's a stamp duty exemption.

For more information, check the NT Government's website.

How to apply for stamp duty exemptions?

To apply for any of the above exemptions or concessions, it's recommended that you speak to your solicitor or conveyancer as they can advise you which ones fit your circumstances. You can apply directly through your state or territory governments website.

Each state and territory manages stamp duty individually. To get an idea of how much stamp duty you may be asked to pay, use Yard's stamp duty calculator.

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