Queensland Stamp Duty Changes
On Wednesday 11 October, the Queensland Government introduced the Revenue and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2006 (Bill) into parliament. Among other proposals, the Bill provides for the amendment of the Duties Act 2001 (Qld) that:
- eliminates hire of goods duty and marketable security duty and make consequential amendments, and
- amends the mortgage duty provisions relating to security over assets in more than one jurisdiction.
These changes relate to announcements that were made as part of the Inter-Governmental Agreement (agreement). Under that agreement, the states and territories agreed to eliminate certain stamp duties in return for receiving the GST revenue collected by the federal government.
Elimination of Hire of Goods Duty and Marketable Security Duty
Queensland removed credit business duty and lease duty from 1 January 2006.
The Bill now gives effect to the abolition of hire duty and marketable security duty, with effect from 1 January 2007.
Marketable security duty applies to transactions involving shares in unlisted companies or units in public unit trusts. This abolition does not affect the land-rich provisions or the duty imposed in relation to private unit trusts.
A number of important consequential changes are included in the Bill, affecting:
- the land-rich provisions
- corporate trustee duty, and
- corporate reconstruction relief.
Queensland has also agreed to halve the duty payable on transfers of non-realty business assets from 1 January 2010 and eliminate it on 1 January 2012. This is still to be legislated.
Mortgage Duty Changes
As part of the stamp duties reduction process, Queensland will halve its mortgage duty rate on 1 July 2008 and abolish mortgage duty on 1 July 2009. For the other states:
- New South Wales has agreed to halve mortgage duty from 1 January 2010 and abolish it from 1 January 2011
- Western Australia halved its mortgage duty rate on 1 July 2006 and will abolish mortgage duty on 1 July 2008
- South Australia will reduce the rate of mortgage duty by a third on each of 1 July 2007 and 1 July 2008 and will abolish the duty on 1 July 2009, and
- Tasmania halved its rate of mortgage duty on 1 July 2006 and will abolish mortgage duty on 1 July 2007.
Currently each state has special provisions for calculating the duty payable on mortgages or mortgage packages that secure property in more than one jurisdiction. In each state, mortgage duty is only payable on a proportion of the secured advances.
The proportion is calculated by reference to the value of secured property in the state. In New South Wales and South Australia this is compared to the total value of secured property situated anywhere in the world. The Tasmanian calculation excludes property located in a territory or outside Australia. Currently, Queensland and Western Australia exclude property in Victoria, a territory or outside Australia, on the basis that those jurisdictions do not impose mortgage duty.
The amendments in the Bill will also exclude Tasmanian property from the calculation on or after 1 July 2007—the date on which Tasmania abolishes mortgage duty. The effect of this change is that Queensland takes some of the benefit from the abolition of Tasmanian mortgage duty. This will prejudice businesses that have assets located in both Queensland and Tasmania.
It is not known whether Western Australia proposes similar changes, although their earlier schedule for abolition might suggest they will not.
Other Mortgage Duty Changes
The Bill also introduces a number of anti-avoidance provisions that relate to the abolition of mortgage duty in Tasmania. These anti-avoidance provisions mirror provisions introduced to deal with Victoria's abolition of mortgage duty in 2004. One provision denies an exemption where the commissioner considers that the proportion of Tasmanian property secured by a collateral mortgage has been structured to avoid Queensland mortgage duty. Another provision requires a re-assessment of additional Queensland mortgage duty if any Tasmanian duty on a mortgage is refunded.
These provisions apply from the abolition of Tasmanian mortgage duty on 1 July 2007.
The constantly changing stamp duty landscape over the next few years makes the right stamp duty advice critical. Freehills has the largest team of dedicated stamp duty specialists in the country, with extensive experience in all states and territories.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.