Stamp duty exemptions for couples

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Stamp duty exemptions for couples may apply when a person in a marriage or de facto relationship owns a property and wants to put their partner on the title. 

There are also exemptions that apply when separation takes place and you want to transfer the title back into the sole name of one of the parties.

Stamp duty exemptions during the relationship

When you decide to add your spouse to the Certificate of Title you may be eligible for a stamp duty exemption. This will depend on your individual circumstances.

Firstly, in order to receive stamp duty exemptions in this circumstance the property must be residential land:

  • on which your principal place of residence is located;
  • that you intend to construct your principal place of residence;
  • on which you are constructing your principal place of residence; or
  • in which you have shares that allow you the right to occupy the property as your principal place of residence.

Once you have established that the property meets the ‘principal place of residence’ requirements then the following apply:

  • if you are married, then a full exemption will be received when adding your spouse to the Certificate of Title; and
  • if you are in a de facto relationship, then: - you must have been in the relationship for two years or more to receive a full exemption; or - if you have been in the relationship for less than two years then no exemption will apply.

If you would like to know more about adding your spouse to the Certificate of Title please contact one of our Licensed Conveyancers.

Stamp duty exemptions after the relationship

In the event that separation has taken place, one party may want to keep the house and ‘buy’ the other person out. When doing this, you will need to transfer the property into the sole name of the person who is retaining it. This transfer will incur a stamp duty liability on the value of the share that is being transferred to the person who is keeping the property (which is different to the amount that they are ‘paying out’ to the other person).

There are stamp duty exemptions available in this scenario, but only if there is a formal family law property settlement in place. Once the formal settlement is done, the transfer can be effected without stamp duty liabilities occurring.

To find out more about why doing a family law property settlement is important, click here.