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3 Oct 12
Queensland State budget announcements

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By Duncan Bedford, Senior Associate

A number of changes to duty in Queensland have been confirmed with the passing of the Fiscal Repair Amendment Act 2012 late last week.

Increase in duty rates

The highest marginal rate of duty has increased from 5.25% to 5.75%, with a corresponding increase in the threshold value upon which the highest rate will apply from $980,000 to $1,000,000.

Changes to First Home Owner Grant (FHOG)

The FHOG has been increased to $15,000 for ‘new homes’ and will be available where the contract to buy or build was entered into on or after 12 September 2012.

However, from 11 October 2012, the FHOG will only be available in respect of contracts to purchase or build a new home – the grant will no longer be available for the purchase of an existing home.

A ‘new home’ will include one that has not been previously occupied or sold as a place of residence, or a substantially renovated home. 

First home buyers will continue not to pay any transfer duty on homes valued up to $500,000 and will be able to access concessional duty rates for homes valued between $500,000 and $550,000.

Other announcements

Other notable announcements include amendments to the Duties Act to:

  • clarify that an entity’s landholdings for landholder duty purposes will include anything fixed to land that may be separately owned from the land (whether or not the entity has an interest in the thing fixed to the land)
  • impose duty on the transfer of exploration permits and authorities to prospect (Exploration Tenements) on or after 13 January 2012 (grants of Exploration Tenements remain exempt from duty), and
  • ensure that Exploration Tenements will also form part of a company’s landholdings in determining whether a liability for landholder duty applies to transfers of interests in an entity after 13 January 2012. 

One important change that has been largely glossed over by the Government is the inclusion of mining leases in the definition of land for landholder duty purposes. Even before this change, the Office of State Revenue (OSR) has been issuing landholder duty assessments on the basis that mining leases were land. However, there is significant doubt as to whether the OSR’s interpretation is correct (particularly in light of the recent changes) and there is a possibility that land rich and landholder duty assessment that have been issued in relation to transactions prior to 21 September 2012 and that have included the value of mining leases as land may be open to review and possible reduction of duty.

If you have any questions regarding these announcements, please contact the McCullough Robertson Stamp Duty team.

 

Focus covers legal and technical issues in a general way. It is not designed to express opinions on specific cases. Focus is intended for information purposes only and should not be regarded as legal advice. Further advice should be obtained before taking action on any issue dealt with in this publication.

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