Stamp duty is a government tax that's imposed when you buy property. In some states or territories, it's called 'conveyancing duty', 'transfer of land duty', 'property transfer duty' or 'transfer duty'.
For many first home buyers, the cost of stamp duty can come as a bit of a shock. Depending on where you buy and the value of the property, it could add tens of thousands of dollars to the cost of the home.
In some states and territories stamp duty exemptions and concessions are available for eligible first home buyers. Just be aware that each state and territory in Australia has its own rules for calculating stamp duty – and some are more complex than others.
It can be hard to keep track of the latest exemptions and concessions available to first home buyers as the rules can change. Even though the goal posts shift from time to time, you still need to understand the costs of stamp duty before you purchase your property. By being prepared, you can factor stamp duty into your budget, so it won’t be as much of a surprise when you settle.
How much stamp duty might you need to pay?
How long is a piece of string? There is no fixed answer to this question.
Stamp duty is calculated using a sliding scale – generally, the cheaper the property, the less stamp duty you’ll pay. But there are other variables that may have an impact on the amount of stamp duty you could have to pay, too.
Some variables may include:
- Where you live – each state and territory has its own rules for calculating stamp duty.
- Property value – as the purchase price increases, so too will the stamp duty.
- First home buyers – in many cases, there are concessions or exceptions for eligible first home buyers, however property purchase price thresholds may apply.
- Investment vs principal place of residence – you may get a concession if the house you buy is your principal place of residence, instead of an investment property.
Given all these variables, calculating stamp duty can be complex. To get an idea of what you’ll need to pay, you should find out the rules that apply in your state or territory.
Stamp duty in your state or territory
Each state or territory government provides online guidance to help you calculate stamp duty and any concessions and exemptions that may apply. Some state or territory governments also have online calculators to help you estimate the amount of stamp duty you may have to pay.
To get the latest information, choose your location:
How can you pay stamp duty?
You generally have to pay stamp duty upfront on settlement of a property, although payment requirements differ from state to state.
Usually, you can pay the stamp duty via direct deposit, bank transfer, cheque or credit card. Often, the conveyancer or lender will organise it on your behalf, however you will need to check this.
To sum up
- Stamp duty is also called transfer of land duty.
- There are many variables that affect how much stamp duty you may have to pay.
- An online stamp duty calculator can give you an estimate of how much you may have to pay.
- Each state and territory has its own rules when it comes to stamp duty.