What is stamp duty
Stamp duty is a state tax on the sale of property and covers the costs of changing the title of the property and ownership details which is usually paid by the buyer. It is important to understand if you are exempted from paying stamp duty because stamp duty can be quite expensive and may impact your overall loan application. By knowing how much you will have to pay in stamp duty, you can better plan for this expense and finalising the purchase of your home.
The amount of stamp duty you pay differs depending on the state or territory that you live in, the purchase price and the type of property that you are buying. Depending on your personal circumstances you may qualify for an exemption on stamp duty.
How is stamp duty calculated?
The amount of stamp duty you pay depends on a number of factors.
- Your state or territory you live in
Some states may charge more stamp duty than others. For example, VIC stamp duty is typically more expensive than NSW stamp duty.
- Purchase price of your property
Stamp duty is calculated on a sliding scale which means the higher the purchase price, the higher the stamp duty you pay. For example, stamp duty for $500,000 purchase is less than stamp duty on a $1,000,000 purchase.
- The type of home you buy
The amount of stamp duty that you will pay will be different depending on the type of home you buy. An investment property purpose may mean you have to pay more in stamp duty when comparing to owner occupied purpose.
How can I minimise my stamp duty costs?
There are a couple of ways you can take to avoid paying stamp duty or at least decrease the amount you pay.
- Lower your building costs
If you are building a house to live in, think of reducing the costs as in some states, stamp duty exemption or tax is based on the improvement value and the value of your vacant land. Lowering the building cost by a few thousand dollars can save you thousands more in taxes.
- Look for a cheaper property
By looking for a cheaper property to purchase, you may fall inside the state or territory’s eligibility requirements for stamp duty exemption or concession.
- Change states
Some buyers are prepared to relocate to a different state where living expenses and housing affordability are more comfortable for them. If this is an option, you can consider relocating to another state where stamp duty is significantly lower or, if you are a first-time home buyer, where you are completely exempted from paying stamp duty. As different states and territories operate independently, it is best to contact Office of State Revenue directly to confirm your eligibility.
It’s important that you consider the stamp duty tax when looking into making a home purchase, as it could end up saving a few thousand dollars off your upfront costs.
Find out if any applicable exemptions and concessions is available to you based on the location you are planning to buy to make sure you can afford this extra expense before committing to a home loan.
For more information, you can visit the Office of State Revenue in your state.
How do I pay my stamp duty?
If you engage a solicitor or conveyancer to help you with your purchase, your solicitor will be able to apply for any potential exemption or concession on your behalf. If you are required to pay stamp duty, your solicitor will provide you with instructions on who and how to pay.
With when it needs to be paid, each state differs, but on average you will have about three months to make the payment in full. You can confirm the due date with your solicitor.
With how to make a payment, you can do this via direct deposit, bank transfer, cheque or credit card. All these payment options will be mentioned in the letter sent to you directly by Office of State Revenue or from your solicitor.
Note that you can’t avoid paying it and if you are late, you will incur interest charges which is an unnecessary cost.
Can I capitalise stamp duty into my loan?
Yes, you can capitalise your stamp duty by increasing your home loan to cover the stamp duty cost. For the lender to approve this, you will need to demonstrate that you have enough equity in the property and the ability to service the higher level of debt.
Please note, borrowing the stamp duty fee may cost you more in the long term because you have to pay interest on the loan increase over the next 30 years.
Do I have to pay stamp duty on vacant land?
All transfers of land come with stamp duty costs, which you can see by using the stamp duty calculator. The exception to this rule is if you qualify for various concessions and exemptions available from each state, particularly for first home buyers.
Do I have to pay stamp duty on off the plan property?
Yes, stamp duty is still payable on off the plan property however keep in mind that you may be eligible for concessions and exemptions especially if you are a first home buyer. This includes Victoria, which offers a concession, regardless of whether you intend to live in the property or not.
Other states and territories also offer first home buyer concessions and exemptions for new homes which can also apply to off the plan homes.
Do I have to pay stamp duty again on a loan I am refinancing?
No, in most cases you do not have to pay stamp duty again if you are refinancing to another lender so long as there is no change in property ownership i.e. the name on title and ownership percentage remains the same when you refinance.
There are scenarios where stamp duty maybe applicable.
E.g. Mum and dad are retirees looking borrowing money to purchase a car. They currently own 100% of their owner-occupied property valued at $1,000,000 in NSW. They require their son to come on board as borrower to demonstrate to the lender that they can service the requested loan amount. The lender in this example requires the son to have a minimum of 25% ownership in the owner-occupied property and will have to pay stamp duty on his 25% ownership.