Barrier free conveyancing – what buyers need to know

18 Sep 2017


  • Conveyancing
Stamp duty

ACT Revenue is changing the way it collects stamp duty. Snedden Hall & Gallop Lawyers explain how barrier free conveyancing will affect buyers of property in the ACT after 18 September 2017.

How is duty changing?

Currently, buyers via their conveyancer or solicitor, have to lodge documents with ACT Revenue Office and pay duty within 90 days of exchange of contracts (or 12 months for off-the-plan purchases). Once stamp duty is paid, the transfer of title can be lodged for registration with the Land Titles Office.

The Barrier Free model changes the timeframe in which payment of stamp duty is due so that buyers pay duty after settlement. A Notice of Assessment for duty will be issued once the title is registered and payment is due within 14 days. The new model will apply to all properties exchanged on or after 18 September 2017.

(Image: ACT Revenue)

What effect will this change have?

For properties exchanged after 18 September 2017, the Barrier Free model will apply:

  • After settlement occurs, your lender (or solicitor/conveyancer if no lender is involved) will be responsible to lodge your application at the Access Canberra Land Titles Office within 14 days.
  • If you are claiming a concession or exemption for your transaction, the applicable concession code will need to be recorded on your transfer.
  • A Notice of Assessment for your transaction will be emailed to you and also to your solicitor/conveyancer. This notice advises the duty amount payable, any concessions or exemptions claimed and the unique payment reference number for the transaction. Payment is limited to BPAY or EFT and must be made within 14 days of title registration.
  • If payment is not made or is received late the matter will be referred to the Debt Management Unit for follow up action. It is imperative that payment is made on time.

For properties exchanged before 18 September 2017:

  • If you exchanged Contracts before 18 September 2017 and have not yet paid Stamp Duty, it will still be due within 90 days of exchange of Contracts – or 12 months for off-the-plan purchases.
  • ACT Revenue office will begin sending out updated Notices of Assessments to your solicitor/conveyancer on 18 September 2017. The amount of duty payable and the due date will not change, however, it will include the unique payment reference number for the transaction. Payment is limited to BPAY or EFT and must be made by the due date.
  • Once stamp duty has been paid, your solicitor/conveyancer will attend the Revenue Office and have the documents stamped.

How does the new  model affect concessions and exemptions?

You will no longer be required to submit a concession/exemption application before settlement for most concession and exemption types.

The ACT Revenue Office is updating their website with online calculators, tools, questionnaires and information to enable you to work out if you are eligible for any concessions and exemptions. You and/or your solicitor/conveyancer will be able to complete the questionnaires to assess whether or not you are eligible. If you are deemed eligible, the Revenue Office will advise a list of documents you will be required to keep as supporting evidence of your eligibility. You will be required to keep these records for 5 years after settlement and may be contacted after settlement to review the documents and verify your eligibility.

How can Snedden Hall & Gallop assist?

For more information on purchasing a property, Barrier Free Conveyancing and assistance in navigating the changes contact the Conveyancing team at Snedden Hall & Gallop. Please call us today for effective and responsive conveyancing services in the ACT by email or phone on (02) 6285 8000.