Important update from SRO regarding the new stamp duty discounts

In our previous article, we outlined the new stamp duty discounts introduced by the Victorian government to boost property activity. These stamp duty discounts are available for contracts signed from 25 November 2020 to 1 July 2021. Many buyers may have recently signed their property contract just before the incentives were announced, and therefore have just missed out.

We’ve received lots of questions from buyers thinking about replacing their current contract date by a mutual agreement made between them and the vendor, so they can access the additional 25%-50% concession on stamp duty, with the dutiable value of their property being equal or less than 1 million.

However, the State Revenue Office has recently announced that neither the purchaser, vendor, nor their representatives are allowed to amend the contract signing date. The exact wording is:

“it is an offence for the vendor, purchaser or their conveyancer/solicitor to represent to the SRO that the contract was signed at a later date in order to qualify for the waiver.”

This means it is considered an offence to have contract signing dates deliberately amended to qualify for the Stamp Duty concessions.

We have seen on recent transactions buyers offering a monetary bonus on top of the purchase price, as a way of encouraging the vendor to re-sign the contract so it falls within the eligible dates.

Whilst we recognise Stamp Duty represents a significant amount of money, Wealthsource Legal always has our clients’ best interests at heart and therefore we would advise against a deliberate amendment to dates as it will potentially incur even greater penalties.