Transferring property from a parent to a child or family member encompasses several legal, financial, and tax considerations. There are various types of property transfer and the actual property transfer process can be motivated by various intentions and situations, including estate planning and distribution, financial assistance, or simply a parental gesture of goodwill. Unlike transfer of property to a spouse, which might qualify for stamp duty exemptions under certain conditions, transfers of property to a child or a family member typically do not enjoy such exemptions and may have significant tax implications. The following is a guide on how to navigate the complexities of transferring property to a child or transfer of property to a family member in Australia, ensuring compliance with legal requirements while minimising potential financial burdens.

Step 1: Evaluate the Purpose and Implications

The initial step involves understanding the purpose behind the property transfer and its implications. This includes considering the potential tax implications, such as capital gains tax (CGT), which could be triggered by the transfer. It is important to consider how the transfer aligns with estate planning and the financial implications for both the transferor and the transferee.

Step 2: Obtain a Property Valuation

It’s crucial to obtain an up-to-date market valuation of the property. This valuation is important for several reasons, including determining the potential CGT liability and ensuring that the transfer is conducted at a fair market value, which is a requirement under Australian tax law to avoid additional taxes and penalties.

Step 3: Review Stamp Duty Obligations

In most Australian states, the transfer of property from parent to child is subject to stamp duty, a tax levied on most property transactions. The amount of stamp duty payable depends on the value of the property and the specific rates and thresholds set by the state or territory in which the property is located. It’s important to calculate the expected stamp duty as part of the overall cost of transferring the property.

Step 4: Consider Capital Gains Tax

Capital gains tax may be applicable on the transfer of property from parent to child or family member, as the transfer is considered an asset disposal. CGT is calculated based on the difference between the property’s market value at the time of transfer and the original purchase price, adjusted for certain expenses. However, if the property has been the parent’s principal place of residence, it may be exempt from CGT under the main residence exemption.

Step 5: Engage Professional Services

Given the legal and financial complexities involved, engaging the services of professionals, such as a conveyancer or solicitor and an accountant, is highly recommended. A conveyancer or solicitor can assist with the legal aspects of the transfer, including the preparation of the transfer deed and ensuring compliance with state laws. An accountant can provide advice on the tax implications of the transfer, helping to minimise the tax liability where possible.

Step 6: Prepare and Lodge Transfer Documents

The legal process involves preparing and lodging the necessary transfer documents with the relevant land registry office. In South Australia, this is Land Services SA. This includes a transfer deed, which must be signed by both the transferor and the transferee. Your conveyancer can guide you through this process, ensuring all paperwork is correctly completed and lodged.

Step 7: Notify Relevant Authorities

Upon completion of the transfer, it’s necessary to notify relevant authorities, including the local council and utility providers, of the change in ownership. This ensures that future bills and rates notices are correctly addressed to the new owner of the property.

Transferring property is a process that requires careful planning and consideration of various legal and tax implications. While it offers parents a way to assist their children or family members financially, it is important to approach the transfer with a clear understanding of the associated costs, including stamp duty and potential capital gains tax.

If you have any questions about the transfer of property to spouses or family members, you can get in touch with us at any of our 12 offices face to face or by giving us a call on 8366 7900.