What is stamp duty?

Stamp duty, sometimes known as transfer duty, is a tax imposed by state and territory governments in Australia on transactions involving the transfer of property. The specifics of stamp duty, including rates and exemptions, vary by jurisdiction, reflecting the decentralised nature of Australia’s tax system. In South Australia (SA), as in other states, stamp duty is calculated based on the value of the property being transferred or the consideration paid for the transfer, whichever is higher.

Do we need to pay stamp duty while transferring ownership?

When property is transferred, whether by sale, gift, or as part of a deceased estate, stamp duty is generally applicable. The rate of stamp duty varies depending on the value of the property, with higher value properties attracting higher rates of duty. Some jurisdictions may also offer concessions or exemptions under certain conditions, such as for first home buyers or for transfers between family members in specific circumstances. We explore these further later in this blog.

Can you transfer property without paying stamp duty?

Yes, there are situations where property can be transferred without the payment of stamp duty or where exemptions or concessions apply, reducing the amount payable. These exceptions are designed to facilitate certain types of property transfers without the financial burden of stamp duty, under specific conditions and as defined by the law.

Stamp duty exemptions in South Australia

In South Australia, several circumstances may qualify for stamp duty exemptions or concessions:

  • Family Farm Transfers: Transfers of farming property between family members may be exempt from stamp duty under certain conditions. This is designed to support the continuation of family farming enterprises across generations.
  • Transfer Between Spouses or De Facto Partners: Transfers of property between spouses or de facto partners because of relationship breakdown are generally exempt from stamp duty. This exemption is intended to mitigate the financial impact of dividing assets when a marriage or domestic partnership ends.
  • First Home Buyers: While specific first home buyer concessions may vary over time, there have been instances where concessions or exemptions have been made available to encourage home ownership among first-time buyers.
  • Deceased Estates: Transfers of property pursuant to a Will or intestacy (when there is no Will) may also be exempt from stamp duty under certain conditions.
  • Other Specific Exemptions: Various other specific exemptions may apply, such as for certain transfers involving charitable organisations or government bodies.

Important Considerations

It is crucial to consult the latest guidance from RevenueSA or a legal professional when considering the stamp duty implications of any property transfer in South Australia. Tax laws and concessions can change, and eligibility for exemptions may depend on detailed circumstances that are subject to legal interpretation. Professional advice can help navigate these complexities, ensuring compliance with tax obligations while maximising any potential savings on stamp duty.