On 21 September 2012, Royal Assent was given to the Fiscal Repair Amendment Act 2012 (Qld) (“FRA Act”).

On 13 January 2012, in the State Budget 2011-12 Mid Year Fiscal and Economic Review (“MYFER”), the previous Queensland Government announced a proposal to impose duty under the Duties Act 2001 (Qld) (“Duties Act”) on the direct and indirect transfer of certain exploration permits and authorities to prospect issued in Queensland. The changes were announced to apply from 13 January 2012, pending enactment of retrospective legislation.

The current Queensland government has now passed the FRA Act which can be found here.

Pre-FRA Act

Under the Duties Act, transfer duty was chargeable on the transfer of statutory licences, subject to certain exclusions. Under these exclusions, transfers of certain types of exploration and prospecting permits and authorities to prospect were not dutiable.

Post-FRA Act

To give effect to the announcement in the MYFER, the FRA Act limits the exclusions in the definition of “statutory licence” to exploration permits under the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Act 1982 (Qld) and to chattel authorities.

Further, the definition of “land” under the Duties Act has also been expanded to include a “resource authority” which includes a number of different permits and authorities that were previously carved out. For example, certain petroleum leases and mining tenements are now included in the definition of “land” for the purposes of the Duties Act. The landholder duty provisions are similarly affected by the amendments imposed by the FRA Act.

Timing of changes, transitional provisions and liability to pay duty

The amendments to the definition of “land” will have effect from the date of Royal Assent of 21 September 2012. However, the FRA Act also inserts transitional provisions into the Duties Act that affect the definition of “land” in relation to transactions that were entered into prior to 21 September 2012. The transitional provisions are technical in nature and provide that duty may be assessed on certain transactions that were entered into between 13 January 2012 and 21 September 2012.

Accordingly, professional advice should be sought in relation to transactions that occurred during this period because a liability to pay duty will be imposed retrospectively on relevant transactions that occurred during that time.

Taxpayers will have 30 days from the date of Royal Assent of 21 September 2012 to comply with their duty obligations in relation to any retrospectively imposed duty. After that 30 day period expires, associated offences, unpaid tax interest, late payment interest and penalty tax will be committed or accrue on the transactions that are dutiable as a result of the transitional provisions.

Other FRA Act changes

The FRA Act also separately:

  1. clarifies the definition of “Landholdings” for the purposes of landholder duty; and
  2. inserts a new top transfer duty rate of 5.75%. This new rate will apply to dutiable transactions where the dutiable value exceeds $1 million.