The Duties Amendment Bill 2008 (Vic) was introduced
into Parliament on 4 December 2008 to make various amendments to
the Duties Act 2000. The Bill proposes the following
Period for Payment of duty
The period for payment of the stamp duty, and lodgement of the
required forms will be reduced from three months to 14 days. For
land purchasers, this means you will only have 14 days to pay duty
from the date of settlement. Duty arising from the execution of a
deed will also need to be paid within 14 days. This amendment will
come into effect from the day the Bill receives Royal Assent.
Property leasing arrangements
Currently, certain lease arrangements allow purchasers to
acquire rights which are equivalent to ownership without being
liable to pay stamp duty. Anti-avoidance provisions will be
introduced to close this loophole so that a transaction utilising
leasing arrangements with certain characteristics will be subject
to stamp duty. In particular, leasing arrangements which provide
the purchaser rights equivalent to ownership of the land, will be
subject to duty.
Broadly, the provisions will provide that a grant of a lease
will be a dutiable transaction if consideration (other than rent)
is paid or agreed to be paid either in respect of the lease (such
as allowances paid from the tenant to the landlord for things such
as fit outs, car parks etc) or in respect of:
A right to purchase or transfer the land;
An option to purchase or transfer the land;
A right of first refusal in respect of the sale or transfer of
An arrangement whereby the lessee or an associated person
obtains any interest in the underlying land.
Duty will be payable on the greater of:
The consideration (other than the rent reserved) that is paid
or agreed to be paid; and
The unencumbered value of the land the subject of the
The changes will be applicable from 21 November 2008.
Beneficial ownership of dutiable property
The Supreme Court decision in Trust Company of Australia Ltd
(atf the Clayton 3 Trust) v Commissioner  created some
ambiguities on whether changes in trust arrangements resulted in
there being a change in beneficial ownership of the dutiable
property. The proposed amendments will clarify:
The term 'beneficial ownership' to include ownership of
dutiable property by a person as trustee of a trust;
The term 'change in beneficial ownership' to include
the creation or extinguishment of dutiable property, changes in the
equitable interests in dutiable property and dutiable property
becoming the subject of a trust or ceasing to be the subject of a
The definition of 'dutiable property' to include
interest in any dutiable property.
The amendments will come into effect from 21 November 2008.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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Many retail leases include a covenant to trade, requiring the tenant to open the premises for trade during certain hours.
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