Under the Duties Act 2008 (WA), duty is generally payable by a purchaser of Western Australian business assets to the State Government. Duty is payable separately and in addition to the purchase price.

Western Australian business assets often include such assets as:

  • goodwill in a business;
  • plant and equipment;
  • intellectual property (including domain names, trademarks, copyright, etc);
  • supply rights and other contracts of a business; and
  • some licences;

From 1 July 2013 the State Government is planning to abolish transfer duty on the transfer of Western Australian business assets. The Government has deferred the abolition since 2010 and it could defer this abolition once again. However, as it stands duty will be abolished on 1 July 2013.

You will need to be careful of the anti-avoidance provisions which deem that a purchase was made before 1 July 2013 if the sole purpose was to avoid duty, however if you are contemplating purchasing a business it may be appropriate to wait until after 1 July 2013.

There are also special rules when buying a business which includes the land which may have the effect of imposing duty.