The car industry has renewed calls for states and territories to standardise motor vehicle stamp duties across Australia – as figures show the cost varies from $360 to $1500 on an identical $35,000 family car.
Stamp duty is a state tax and one of the many charges that is bundled within on-road costs for both new and used cars.
On cars that cost $100,000, the stamp duty can vary from $3400 in one jurisdiction to $7900 in another.
Research conducted by CarAdvice shows each state and territory structures stamp duty differently, penalising motorists in some states while providing others with a significant cost saving. The table can be found at the end of this article.
Most states charge a flat rate on the cost of the vehicle, or a rising rate as the price increases. Some jurisdictions base stamp duty rates on emissions, engine size, or fuel type.
For example, in NSW stamp duty is charged at 3 per cent up to $45,000 and 5 per cent beyond that threshold, plus a nominal $1350.
In Victoria, from 1 July 2020 stamp duty will be calculated at approximately 4.2 per cent for vehicles that cost less than $68,740 ($8.40 for every $200 or part thereof).
From 1 July 2020, for vehicles between $68,741 and $100,000 sold in Victoria, stamp duty is equivalent to approximately 5.2 per cent ($10.40 for every $200 or part thereof).
From $100,001 to $150,000, the stamp duty on vehicles sold in Victoria are calculated at approximately 7 per cent (or $14 for every $200 or part thereof), and cars above $150,000 are calculated at approximately 9 per cent ($18.00 for every $200 of part thereof).
In Victoria, motor vehicle stamp duty is calculated on the entire price of the car, rather than a stepped system that only charges a percentage above each threshold, as is often done in other states. All low emission vehicles in Victoria are charged at the lowest stamp duty amount.
Queensland has a sliding scale approach, from 2 per cent for electric and hybrid vehicles, to 4 per cent for cars with eight cylinders or more.
The ACT also has a sliding scale, but calculates its stamp duty based on CO2 emissions. Vehicles producing less than 130g of CO2 per kilometre are not charged any stamp duty, rising to 6 per cent for cars over $45,000 that produce more than 220g of CO2.
Western Australia charges 2.75 per cent stamp duty for cars that cost less than $25,000, 6.5 per cent on every dollar for cars that cost more than $50,000. For vehicles valued between those two amounts the stamp duty is calculated as: [2.75 per cent + (dutiable value – 25,000)/6,666.66)].
In South Australia, passenger vehicles over $3000 are charged at a flat-rate of 4 per cent over that amount, plus $60. Stamp duty for new motor vehicles excludes the value of dealership accessories.
Tasmania charges a flat 3 per cent for vehicles valued up to $34,999, 11 per cent plus $1050 from $35,000 to $39,999, and a flat 4 per cent above that threshold.
The Northern Territory charges a flat rate of 3 per cent, no matter the value of the car, but many buyers are exempt. If you are transacting with a family member or someone you work with, this is considered a ‘non-arm’s length transaction’ and you pay no stamp duty.
As you can see from the examples shown above, the cost for identical cars varies greatly depending on where they are registered – and the different calculations make it difficult for car companies to offer national drive-away deals, especially on dearer models.