What is stamp duty?

By Anna Spargo-Ryan, 21 Jul 2015 Car Advice

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What is stamp duty?

There are all kinds of costs associated with buying a new car. Make sure you factor in your stamp duty.

Buying a new car can be expensive. There’s the car itself, of course, but then you’ve got registration, insurance, after-market accessories, luxurious seat covers, and detailing after you spill a drink in it for the first time.

But there’s another cost you might not have factored in when you’re making a decision on which car to buy: stamp duty.

You’ve probably seen new cars advertised with “no on-road costs”. Stamp duty is one of those costs. Drive-away prices also include registration and dealer delivery (which can mean all kinds of things, but includes transporting your new car, safety checks and usually a final clean).

So, what does it all mean? Is it a scam? It depends on who you ask.

Stamp duty is a tax, so basically it’s money in the government’s pocket every time you buy a car. It applies to all cars, new and old, and is designed to cover the legal costs of transferring ownership of your car.

To make it even harder, each state calculates stamp duty differently. Some states charge a percentage based on the value of the car or the size of the engine while others have a flat rate for some cars but not others.

Generally speaking, the stamp duty you have to pay will be somewhere between two percent and four percent of the total cost of your car. On a Volvo S60, that’s about $1500. On a Holden Astra , about $900. On a Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG Coupe it’s nearly $15,000, but we’re guessing that’s probably not a problem for those buyers.

We don’t want to prolong your suspense. Here’s the stamp duty you’ll be paying in your state, once you’ve found your perfect car (click here to start your search):

NSW | VIC | QLD | TAS | SA | WA | ACT | NT

NSW

NSW calculates stamp duty based on the value of the car:

Car’s value

Stamp duty rate

$0 – 44,999

$3 per $100 (or part thereof)

$45,000+

$1350, plus $5 per $100 (or part thereof)

So a snappy $30,000 hatch will come with an extra cost of around $900.

NSW Government has an online calculator here.

Victoria

Victoria has different rates for new and used cars. We’re in the business of connecting folks with great new cars, so here’s what you need to know:

Car’s value

Stamp duty rate

$0 – 63,184

$6.40 per $200 or part thereof

$63,185+

$10.40 per $200 or part thereof

That means your safe and shiny Volvo XC60 Luxury Wagon will have an extra $3380 payable to get it on the road.

Victoria also has different rates for non-passenger vehicles, demos and other vehicle types. VicRoads has all of those details here.

Calculate it online: State Revenue Office Victoria Motor Vehicle Duty Calculator

Queensland

In Queensland, stamp duty is based on the size of your engine. If you’re the kind of person who gets around, James Bond-style, in a V12 Aston Martin, you’re up for a fair whack of tax.

Queensland also charges stamp duty on any additional accessories, modifications or sick spoilers added to your car before you buy it.

With rates as complex as these, we suggest you head on over to their online calculator to find out how much you’ll be paying.

Tasmania

Tassie charges stamp duty based on the value of the car, with a flat rate for cars under $600.

Car’s value

Stamp duty rate

$600 or less

$20 flat rate

$600 - 35,000

$3 per $100 or part thereof

$35,001 – 40,000

$1050 plus $11 per $100 over the $35,000 or part thereof

$40,000+

$4 per $100 or part thereof

That $35,001 – 40,000 bracket is a curly one. That means if you buy a new Nissan Navara dual cab, you’ll pay $1050 plus $439 (that’s ($38,990 - $35,000) / 100 x 11).

Phew!

South Australia

SA has kept it nice and simple. For a new car (that is, a car valued at more than $3001), you’re looking at one rate.

Car’s value

Stamp duty rate

$3001+

$60 plus 4% ($4 per $100) for every dollar over $3000.

What did I tell you? Simple. On a BMW 2 18i Active Tourer Luxury Wagon, that’s $60 plus $4 times $45,700 - $3000, which is, if our abacus serves me correctly, $1768.

Western Australia

Thank goodness for WA. Their stamp duty chart is… oh, wait. They charge based on “dutiable value”, which for new cars is the manufacturer list price.

Car’s value

Stamp duty rate

$0 – 44,999

$3 per $100 (or part thereof)

$45,000+

$1350, plus $5 per $100 (or part thereof)

Let’s talk about that middle row. That means you pay a percentage of the list price of the car, plus a percentage of the list price equal to the list price minus $25,000 divided by 6,666.66.

We’re not even sure where to begin with that one. At least the Mazda3 is easy to figure out.

ACT

The country’s political heartland calculates stamp duty based on both the value of the car, and how “green” it is. So the first thing you need to do is visit this website to see your car’s impact on the environment. Class A is the best, while Class D means you’re figuratively driving your car through the ozone layer on your way to work.

Cars without class have reality TV shows and also have to pay the Class “C” rate.

Car’s Value

Class A

Class B

Class C

Class D

Up to $45,000

No duty

2%

3%

4%

Over $45,000

No duty

$900 + 4% per dollar over $45,000

$1350 + 5% per dollar over $45,000

$1800 + 6% per dollar over $45,000

So if you need to get to and from Parliament House in a new Mercedes-Benz E250 Night Edition 2D Cabriolet , you’ve got $1878 to pay to… well, yourself, I guess.

Their online calculator is here.

Northern Territory

Finally! Bless you, northern friends. The NT calculates stamp duty at 3% of the dutiable value of the car. No fancy tables required.