Transfer duty

The imposition of transfer duty, tax, or stamp duty varies from state to state. So, getting a business accountant on board with an awareness of how to transfer duty impacts a potential transaction will make a massive difference to the net outcome for your family.  

As transfer duty varies from state to state, a significant transaction can impact multiple jurisdictions. So, while we do not transfer duty lawyers, we are connected with GGI Global, and we have lawyers in all states of Australia whom we can brief on your transfer duty requirements and how they will apply to you.  

Further, the business structuring of a transaction can impact the stamp duty impact of the same transaction. For example, unit trusts are often done at Westcourt for their transfer duty and capital gains tax benefits – the unit trust (for real estate under $2m) can be transferred around family members without triggering transfer duty. Likewise, the separation of real estate away from a trading company within the business structuring options for a family in business can significantly help a family in business succession the operations later on and not necessarily incur stamp duty.  

Engaging tax advisors with an appreciation of stamp duty across Australia are also relevant for providing goods and services tax; for many, it is seen as a short-term financing transaction only. If GST is paid in one quarter, the ATO will refund the same GST in a subsequent quarter. However, that approach will overlook the stamp duty impact of a GST free transaction – stamp duty applies to GST. So, at Westcourt, our focus on legitimately structuring transactions to enjoy a GST exemption is often done, in part, to ensure that a lower overall cost of transfer duty is paid.  

Another situation can be seen with the closure and creation of a discretionary trust. In exceptional cases, a discretionary trust can be shut down. The assets held within that discretionary trust, including real estate, can be transferred to the beneficiaries and enjoy a tax-free transfer. This same transfer duty outcome might also be appreciated if the asset is transferred to a self-managed super fund (with detailed advice attached to that position).  

What is essential is that transfer duty does not exist by itself. Another tax exists in the broader tax framework that impacts a family in the business. At Westcourt, we have one single focus – making family-owned businesses great. Our single market approach, proven level of tax excellence, and national reach with the GGI network make us the natural choice for becoming your primary trusted advisor when looking at your tax affairs now and moving forward. 

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