When transactions are related, the transfer duty payable on the transactions must be aggregated; meaning that, rather than assessing the value of the transactions separately (in which case a lower rate of duty may be payable), the value of the transactions are combined and duty is assessed on the combined value of the transactions.
What are “aggregated transactions”?
There are various circumstances that must be considered in determining whether transactions are aggregated.
Firstly, it is important to make clear that the aggregation of transactions relates not only to the transfer of real property, but also to acquisition of business and other interests in Queensland.
The negotiation of the Contract, method and terms of sale must be considered. The Office of State Revenue generally holds that property purchased at auction is not subject to aggregation (as the Buyer is unable to negotiate their purchase, and cannot guarantee that they will be successful at auction). If, however, the transactions were effected by a contract or negotiation, then the offer and execution of documents occurring for both transactions on the same day can also create an aggregated transaction. Further, any terms of a Contract implying that the transactions are linked (for example, settlement of Purchase A is subject to Purchase B also settling), creates a relationship between the transactions, resulting in aggregation.
Finally, and most obviously, the combined use of the subject of the transactions will result in aggregation.
What happens if my transactions are linked, but they aren’t assessed as aggregated?
Your solicitor will rely on information provided by you in determining whether the transactions are aggregated. In order for transfer duty to be correctly assessed when payable, it is important to make sure that you disclose any relevant information to your solicitor from the outset. Failure to do so could result in incorrect assessment of your transfer duty liability, which can incur Unpaid Tax Interest until rectified.
As the circumstances in which aggregated transfer duty is payable vary from case to case, it is best to speak to your solicitor if you are considering entering into any Contract or agreement which could result in an aggregation. As transfer duty in Queensland is calculated at progressive rates, failure to take this into account before entering into a transaction could result in a high rate of transfer duty being assessed than you anticipated.