The Stamp Duty Act imposes duty on dutiable instruments and transactions. The instruments liable to duty are generally described in Schedule 1 to the Act. Exempt instruments and transactions are generally described in Schedule 2 to the Act.
The following is a general overview of the documents and transactions liable to stamp duty including the rates, exemptions, and concessions. For precise details, reference should be made to the Act.
Conveyances of dutiable property (land, business property)
i. Dutiable Property
A conveyance or an agreement to convey dutiable property is liable to stamp duty. Where dutiable property is acquired without being evidenced by a dutiable document, the person acquiring the property is required to complete a statement detailing the transaction. The type of property, which is liable to duty on its acquisition, is limited to:
1. Land in the Northern Territory. Land includes:
a lease of land;
a mining tenement (from 1 July 2008), a mining tenement includes exploration rights to explore for resources such as exploration licences and exploration retention licences; and
a fixture to land (including a tenant's fixture or a fixture associated with mining operations conducted, or formerly conducted, on the land)
2. Business property in the nature of:
the goodwill of a business (which also includes any amount for the value of any restrictive covenant including a restraint of trade agreement, which would protect or enhance the value of the business to the purchaser);
intellectual property rights and other rights connected with a business undertaking carried on or to be carried on in the Northern Territory being:
- a right to use a business name, trading name or trade mark;
a right to use a thing, system or process that is the subject of a patent, a registered design or copyright; and
a right to use information or technical know how.
a patent or registered design or a copyright itself; and
statutory business licence for the carrying out of a business activity (ie. fishing licence, liquor licence etc.).
3. Other property being:
an option to purchase any dutiable property;
chattels (goods wares and merchandise), except the following, but only if acquired with other dutiable property.
Stock in trade (eg. finished goods or goods purchased for resale);
Material held for manufacture (eg. raw materials being made into finished goods);
Goods under manufacturer (eg. work in progress)
Motor vehicles which are required to be registered or the registration transferred;
Cash or money in an account at call; and
negotiable instruments (eg. bills of exchange) or money on deposit.
It also includes an estate or interest in dutiable property, such as a partnership interest.
Duty is calculated on the purchase price or unencumbered value of the dutiable property, whichever is the greater, as follows:
Where the dutiable value does not exceed $525 000 in accordance with the follow formula:
D = (0.06571441 x V² ) + 15V
D = the duty payable in $
V = the dutiable value
Prior to 1 July 2011, where the dutiable value exceeds $525 000 – 4.95 per cent of that amount.
From 1 July 2011, where the dutiable value exceeds $525 000, but is less than $3 million - 4.95 per cent of that amount.
From 1 July 2011, where the dutiable value is $3 million or more - 5.45 per cent of that amount.
An estimate of the duty payable can be calculated via the Stamp Duty calculator.
The following are the most common exemptions provided under the stamp duty legislation and some other statutes. Where an application form is required to claim the exemption or further detail of the exemption is provided in a Revenue Circular, a link is provided to that form or circular.
|Family homes – into joint names of spouses
|Property settlements – De facto relationships
|Property settlements – section 90 of the Family Law Act (Cwlth)
(a) public hospital or
(b) public benevolent institution; or
(c) religious institution; or
(d) public education institution; or
(e) council, society, organisation or other body established or carried on exclusively or principally for the promotion of the interests of a school (other than a school carried on for profit);or
(f) non-profit organisation having as its sole or dominant purpose a charitable, benevolent, philanthropic or patriotic purpose.
The exemption only applies where the property is to be used for a purpose other than the carrying on of a commercial activity.
Deeds relating to trusts
Stamp duty of $20 is payable on deeds not otherwise chargeable with conveyance duty that constitute a trust, vary a trust in any way, deal with actual, potential or contingent interests or entitlements under a trust or extinguish a trust. All parties to the Deed are jointly liable for the payment of the duty.
General insurance policies
General insurance policies that relate to property or risk that may occur in the Northern Territory are liable to stamp duty at a rate of 10 per cent of the premium paid for the policy. Where the policy also relates to a risk or property outside of the Territory, the premium is apportioned accordingly. Refer to Commissioner's Guideline CG-SD-006 (pdf, 81kb) for details.
Where an Australian insurer effects the policy, the insurer must register (F-SD-016 (pdf, 363kb) and remit duty generally by monthly return. The insurer usually passes the cost of the duty on to their customers. Where an overseas insurer effects the policy, the insured is required to lodge a return (F-SD-018 (pdf, 166kb) and remit the duty of effecting the insurance.
Various policies are either not liable or exempt from duty including:
re-insurance effected with another insurer;
the insurance of a hull of a floating vessel that is being used primarily for commercial purposes;
the insurance of goods or merchandise or the freight of goods or merchandise carried by sea, land or air;
a policy of insurance taken out in pursuance or as a requirement under the Work Health Act;
a policy of insurance entered into in the course of a health insurance business, conducted by a registered health benefits organisation within the meaning of Part IV of the National Health Act (Cth), but only if the registered health benefits organisation issued the policy; and
policies of residential building insurance and fidelity certificates taken out as a requirement under the Building Act.
Lease duty on 'rent' was abolished on 1 July 2006. However, the grant of a lease remains liable to duty at the same rate as an acquisition of land where valuable consideration (i.e. a premium) other than or instead of rent is given for the lease, or for an option under which the lease is granted.
Duty is calculated on the amount or value, of the consideration payable.
The lessee is liable for the payment of the duty.
A lease that is a residence contract under the Retirement Villages Act.
Land-Holding Corporations and Unit Trusts
Conveyance duty applies to an acquisition (by any means including a transfer, allotment, cancellation, variation of rights etc) of a significant or a further interest in a land-holding corporation or a unit trust scheme (a landholding entity) that is entitled to an interest in land in the Northern Territory with an unencumbered value of $500 000 or more. Land entitlements include those of ‘linked entities’ of the corporation or unit trust scheme.
Land includes a lease, mining tenements, exploration rights and anything fixed to the land irrespective of whether it would be regarded as a fixture at common law.
From 1 July 2009, the provisions apply whether or not the land holding entity is listed on a recognised financial market but different thresholds apply as follows:
Special rules apply to mergers of land holding entities.
For precise details of the land-holding provisions, refer to Part 3, Division 8A of the Stamp Duty Act and relevant Revenue Circulars.
Life insurance policies
Life insurance policies relating to a person residing in the Northern Territory are not liable to stamp duty if the policy is entered into on or after 1 July 2015.
Life insurance policies entered into by a person residing in the Northern Territory prior to 1 July 2015 remain liable to stamp duty at a rate of 10 cents per $100 (or part thereof) of the sum insured. Term or temporary policies entered into before 1 July 2015 are liable to duty at a rate of 5 per cent of the first year’s premium.
Life insurance riders attached to life insurance policies entered into after 1 July 2015 continue to be taxed as general insurance. For more information on these changes please view RC-SD-004 Budget Measures – Life Insurance Duty (Abolition) below.
RC-SD-004 2015-16 Budget Measures – Life Insurance Duty (Abolition) (pdf, 81 kb)
RC-SD-004 2015-16 Budget Measures – Life Insurance Duty (Abolition) (docx, 685 kb)
The insurer must register F-SD-015 (pdf, 373kb) and remit duty generally by monthly return. The insurer usually passes the cost of the duty on to their customers.
Motor vehicle certificates of registration and transfers
Stamp duty is payable on the issue or transfer of a motor vehicle certificate of registration. Duty is calculated at the rate of $3 per $100 (or part thereof) of the purchase price of the vehicle including additional equipment and accessories fitted to the vehicle if the transaction is made on normal commercial terms. In any other case, duty is calculated on the greater of the market value (including additional equipment and accessories) at the time of the transaction or at the time the application for registration or transfer is made.
For a more detailed summary of the scheme refer to the following publications
Stamp Duty and Motor Vehicles (pdf, 172kb)
Exemption from Stamp Duty on Motor Vehicle (pdf, 238kb)
Estimated duty payable can be calculated on the MVR duty web page.
View details on general administrative matters including lodgement and payment time requirements, refunds, objections, address details and office hours. For details on information required when lodging a document or statement for assessment of duty, refer to the Stamp Duty Lodgement Guide (pdf, 378kb).