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Article | 4-minute read

What is stamp duty and how does it affect you?

Stamp duty can be one of the unexpected costs of buying property. Knowing how to calculate stamp duty could help you budget more effectively. Find out what stamp duty is and how it could affect your property purchase. 

What is stamp duty?

Stamp duty or land transfer duty is the tax that you pay when buying a property. In some states or territories, it may be referred to as 'conveyancing duty', 'transfer of land duty', 'property transfer duty' or 'transfer duty'.

Generally, when buying land in any state or territory in Australia, which may include buildings (such as a family home on a suburban block), you will need to pay stamp duty to the relevant state or territory government. The amount of stamp duty depends on which state or territory the property is in and the property value.

How much is stamp duty?

Stamp duty is generally based on the market value or purchase price of the property, whichever is greater. Generally, the cheaper the property, the less stamp duty you’ll pay but there are other variables that could impact your stamp duty bill.

The exact amount payable depends on a number of factors, including the location of the property and whether you're eligible for any concessions or exemptions. Depending on where you buy and the value of the property, stamp duty could add a significant sum to the cost of the property.

Each state and territory has its own rules for how to calculate stamp duty – and some are more complex than others. 

To get the latest information for your state or territory, choose your location:

How can I calculate stamp duty?

To get an idea of how much stamp duty you’ll need to pay, find out the rules that apply in your state or territory or check with your solicitor or conveyancer.

There are many variables to consider, so an easy way to get an estimate is with our property stamp duty calculator. You can play with the different variables to get a closer estimate.

Can I get a stamp duty exemption? 

In some states and territories, stamp duty exemptions and concessions may be available for eligible first home buyers, seniors and pensioners. There might also be concessions based on the value of the property purchased or the buyer’s annual income.

Just be aware that each state and territory has its own rules for calculating stamp duty and offering exemptions and concessions. Check with your solicitor or conveyancer if you’re eligible for a stamp duty exemption or concession.

Do I need to pay stamp duty on...

First homes

In some cases, there are exemptions and concessions for stamp duty on your first home. However, each state and territory has its own rules and property purchase price thresholds may apply. Check with your solicitor or conveyancer if you’re eligible for a stamp duty exemption or concession.

Land

Yes, there is stamp duty on land. 

When you buy an existing house, you pay stamp duty based on the value of both the land and the house. 

When you’re building a new house, you pay stamp duty based on the value of the land you buy. You generally don’t have to pay stamp duty on the house you then build, which could be a substantial saving, although you should check with your solicitor or conveyancer as to whether this is applicable.

Off the plan properties

In some states and territories, you may be able to save on off the plan stamp duty because you’re buying a new property before it’s actually been constructed.

This can vary depending on which state or territory the property is in, whether you’re purchasing a home or an investment property, and your particular contract. 

Check with your solicitor or conveyancer about the stamp duty owed, whether any concessions are available, and when it must be paid.

How do I 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 by 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.

Want to calculate stamp duty?

Now that you know what stamp duty is, you are aware that calculating stamp duty can be quite complex. One way to work out how much stamp duty you might have to pay is to use our stamp duty calculator.

Try our stamp duty calculator

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