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In this edition of ‘It depends’, senior associate Tom Walrut talks about whether you need to pay stamp duty on a change of trustee and what circumstances you need to look out for.


Hi and welcome to today’s It depends. Today we’re going to be talking about stamp duty and stamp duty on the change of a trustee.

Do I pay stamp duty on a change of trustee?

The first question is, is there stamp duty on the change of trustee and well, it depends. And it depends on a multitude of circumstances. The main ones being firstly, does your trust actually earn any dutiable property and we talk about dutiable property here in Queensland, we talk about things like land, Queensland business assets, interests in land and also trust interests as well.

What circumstances do I need to look out for?

So, the second question is what type of trust are we dealing with? Is it a unit trust? Is it a family discretionary trust? Is it a super fund? And then the third one that we have to work through is the background and the circumstances relating to the trust and how the trust has been operated to date to see if there’s anything which affects whether or not we have to pay stamp duty. So, when we’re looking at some examples of that, things to look out for are if there’s been any trust acquisitions or changes in the interests of the trust, particularly for dealing with unit trusts on which stamp duty has never been paid. If stamp duty has never been paid, that’s going to stop you getting the change of trustee exemption on the change of trustee. The other ones, obviously, are if you’ve got a family discretionary trust, whether or not there have been any variations, which again, trigger a trust acquisition or a trust surrender and on which stamp duty has never been paid. A third and final point is also to look out for where the arrangement which we’re implementing as part of the change of trustee is part of a broader arrangement changing the rights and entitlements of any of the beneficiaries in the trust. If those circumstances are present, then you might not be entitled to your exemption from stamp duty for the change of trustee.

But as always, if you do have a change of trustee that you’re looking to get the duty exemption on, please do feel free to give us a call. We’ve got a very large friendly team here that’s happy to talk at any time about these things. Thanks.