The Ultimate Guide to Understanding Car Stamp Duty in Australia

Published on June 12th, 2024
The Ultimate Guide to Understanding Car Stamp Duty in Australia

Purchasing a vehicle is an exciting venture, but it often comes with various financial considerations that can be overwhelming. One of the crucial aspects of buying a vehicle in Australia, particularly when looking at used cars for sale, is understanding the stamp duty that comes with it. This guide aims to demystify car stamp duty in Australia, making your journey to owning a used car much more predictable.

What is Stamp Duty?

Stamp duty, referred to in some states as transfer duty, is a form of tax applied to various transactions, including the transfer of property, such as real estate and vehicles. In the context of buying a car, stamp duty is levied by Australian states and territories on the purchase of new and used cars. The tax is generally calculated based on the purchase price or the market value of the vehicle, whichever is higher.

Why is Stamp Duty Important?

Understanding stamp duty is crucial because it affects the overall cost of purchasing a car. Not accounting for this tax can lead to unexpected expenses that may stretch your budget more than planned. Knowing how much you need to pay in stamp duty helps you plan and budget effectively for your vehicle purchase.

How is Stamp Duty Calculated?

The calculation of stamp duty varies from state to state, which can be slightly confusing. Generally, the duty is calculated as a percentage of the vehicle's purchase price or market value.

New South Wales (NSW)

In NSW, stamp duty (transfer duty) is based on the vehicle's price and type. Passenger vehicles are charged at $3 per $100 for values up to $44,999 and $1,350 plus $5 per $100 for values over $45,000. Commercial vehicles may have different rates (refer to Revenue NSW)


Victoria uses a tiered system where the duty for vehicles up to $76,950 is $8.40 per $200 of the car's value, and for vehicles over this value, the rate increases incrementally (see State Revenue Office Victoria).


Queensland has varying thresholds and rates depending on the vehicle's weight (more or less than 4.5 tonnes) and its specifications, including electric vs. motorised, number of cylinders, and number of rotors. Electric or hybrid cars are charged $2 per $100 up to $100,000, with prices increasing up to $4 (refer to Queensland Government Transport).

South Australia

Stamp duty rates in South Australia increase progressively from $1 per $100 of the car's value up to $4 per $100 for values exceeding $3,000 (refer to Revenue SA).

Western Australia

In Western Australia, the duty starts at $2.75 per $100 for vehicles valued up to $25,000, increasing for more expensive vehicles with an additional transfer fee (refer to WA Department of Transport).


Tasmania charges a flat rate of $20 for passenger vehicles under $600 and $3 per $100 of the vehicle’s value up to $35,000. This increases up to $4 over $40,000 (refer to State Revenue Office of Tasmania).

Australian Capital Territory (ACT)

The ACT adjusts stamp duty based on the vehicle's age, fuel efficiency, and price, promoting the purchase of cleaner vehicles with rates that can range from zero to higher based on emissions (refer to Revenue ACT)

Northern Territory

The Northern Territory imposes a flat rate of $3 per $100 of the vehicle’s value, capped at a maximum of $1,500, benefiting buyers of higher-priced vehicles (refer to Northern Territory Government PDF).

Buyers are encouraged to use online calculators from state websites or consult with relevant departments to determine the exact stamp duty payable.

Exemptions and Concessions on Stamp Duty

Certain exemptions and concessions on stamp duty may apply depending on the state or territory. For example, concessions might be available for:

  1. Pensioners or disabled persons
  2. Farmers buying a vehicle for agricultural use
  3. Emergency vehicles

Checking with the local vehicle registration body can provide specifics that may reduce the overall cost of acquiring a used car.

Planning Your Purchase

To effectively plan your car purchase, consider the following steps:

  1. Budget Accordingly: Make sure your budget accounts for the additional cost of stamp duty.
  2. Use Online Calculators: Before purchasing, use an online stamp duty calculator to estimate the likely duty payable. This will help you avoid any surprises.
  3. Check for Exemptions and Concessions: Research any possible exemptions and concessions that might apply to your situation.

Consider Stamp Duty When Looking at Used Cars for Sale

Stamp duty is a significant factor that must not be overlooked when navigating the market for used cars for sale. This guide helps you understand and anticipate these costs, ensuring a smoother purchasing experience. By considering stamp duty in your budgeting and planning, you'll be better prepared to make an informed decision about your next vehicle purchase in Australia. Remember, thorough research and planning are your best tools in any car-buying journey.