When transfer duty applies
Transfer duty, sometimes called stamp duty, is a tax on dutiable transactions such as:
- a transfer of dutiable property
- an agreement for the transfer of dutiable property
- a partnership acquisition
- the creation or termination of a trust of dutiable property
- a trust acquisition or surrender.
Previously, the Stamp Act 1894 imposed transfer duty in Queensland; it was then replaced by the Duties Act 2001.
Because the term ‘stamp duty’ applies to a wide range of transactions, the Duties Act separates duties into types so you can easily understand what duty is being charged on.
Types of duty
The different types of duties that you could pay are:
- transfer duty
- vehicle registration duty
- insurance duty
- corporate trustee duty
- landholder duty
- additional foreign acquirer duty.
Sometimes you may need to pay more than 1 type of duty for a single transaction. For example, the transfer of a limousine business could involve paying both transfer duty and vehicle registration duty.
Other types, such as mortgage duty and lease duty, no longer apply.
Transfers = transactions
Transfer duty applies whenever you sell, buy or transfer property—such as land or rights to land—in Queensland. Transfer duty is charged on ‘dutiable transactions’ (i.e. transfers that duty applies to) for property.
Dutiable transactions may include:
- signing a contract to buy or sell a home
- giving a half-share of a property you own to your spouse as a gift
- giving someone access across your property (an easement)
- creating a trust over land that you previously owned in your own right for your children or family members.
In Queensland, transfer duty on land is usually calculated on either the unencumbered value of the property or the amount you agree to pay (the consideration), whichever is higher. The higher amount is called the ‘dutiable value’.
This means that transfer duty can apply even when no money is paid or the transfer is a gift. Read the public ruling about when valuations are needed for transactions with no consideration (DA505.1).
Concessions and exemptions may apply to a dutiable transaction, so you may have less or no duty to pay if you’re eligible.
Stamping and paying
Generally, you must lodge documents for stamping within 30 days from the date they’re signed. Also, you usually need to have the documents for your transaction stamped and pay any duty charged before you can complete the transfer.
Most banks require stamped transfers at settlement. If you’re borrowing money, you should have your documents stamped well before settlement.
A document must be assessed before it can be stamped. A registered self assessor (usually a solicitor or conveyancer) or the Office of State Revenue can do this. You can also have documents that are not liable for transfer duty (non-dutiable transactions) stamped, but an adjudication fee may apply.
After assessing your documents, the assessor tells you how much duty you have to pay. After you pay the duty, they stamp your documents and return them to you.
You can then lodge your transfer with the relevant agency. For land, this is usually the Department of Natural Resources and Mines.
Find out more about getting your documents stamped and paying transfer duty.
Transfer duty on other types of property
Transfer duty may also apply to transactions involving:
- business assets, including vehicles and leases
- resource authorities
- existing rights
- registered, undeveloped land (i.e. a transferable site area).