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Changes to complex duty transactions in Victoria

State Revenue Office (SRO) Victoria has recently introduced a new requirement for purchasers to apply for complex stamp duty assessments at least 30 days before settlement. Prior to these changes, complex assessments could be lodged with the SRO within 30 days after settlement. The new process assists Land Use Victoria's mandatory electronic conveyancing procedure by ensuring assessment is completed prior to settlement and enabling payment of stamp duty and document registration to occur at settlement. Here, we explain what you need to know about these changes.

What are complex assessments?

SRO's Evidentiary Requirements Manual provides guidance on what transactions are considered 'complex' and what documentary evidence is required by SRO to complete its assessment. Complex matters include:

  • Transfer of property to a superannuation fund.
  • Change of trustee, including a transfer to a special trustee or following the retirement or appointment of a new responsible entity of a managed investment scheme.
  • Sub-sales for transfers to a person or entity other than the purchaser named in the contract of sale. This includes nominations, assignments or transfer rights.
  • Aggregate transactions (ie the purchase of multiple properties that is substantially one arrangement).
  • Transactions with a purchase price over $100 million.

A comprehensive list of complex transactions can be found on the SRO website.

How does this affect transactions?

There are important consequences for non-compliance with the processing timeline, including lengthy delays to settlement. For example, where complex transactions are lodged less than 30 days before settlement, PEXA (the electronic lodgement network) will automatically push back the settlement date within the electronic workspace to meet the 30-day period.

That means it is critical that parties to complex transactions are mindful of (and account for) the SRO processing timeframes during contract negotiations. Preparing and lodging the complex duty application should also occur as early as possible to avoid unnecessary delays. This includes preparing evidentiary documents required to support any complex assessment. These documents must be finalised, collated and, where applicable, executed and stamped prior to lodgement with the SRO. Incomplete applications which do not meet appropriate evidentiary guidelines may delay assessment beyond the 30-day period.

You should also be mindful these new changes may restrict the ability to conduct simultaneous settlements if any aspect of the transaction is considered complex.

Urgent assessments

For contracts with a short settlement timeframe (eg 14-day off-the-plan purchases), purchasers can make a written request to the SRO for urgent assessment. However, the criteria for urgent assessments is limited and not available in most circumstances.

Our Real Estate team can help with any queries you have about stamp duty assessments.

Contact McMahon Clarke

T +61 7 3239 2900
A Level 7, 100 Creek Street, Brisbane Qld 4000