Pensioner duty assistance

Pensioner duty deferral scheme

From 1 July 2020, the Pensioner Duty Deferral Scheme (the Scheme) provides for pensioners acquiring a property as a principal place of residence the opportunity to defer payment of conveyance duty.

Prior to 1 July 2020, eligible pensioners who received a partial duty concession were also eligible to defer any remaining duty payable if they have at least 75 per cent equity in the property they purchase. Details for this deferral arrangements are available by clicking here.

Eligibility

To be eligible for a duty deferral under the Scheme, you need to meet the following requirements:

  • At least one buyer of the home must be an eligible pensioner.
  • At least one buyer must satisfy the residence requirements.

Eligible pensioner

You are an eligible pensioner if, on the transaction date:

  • you receive an Australian age pension from Centrelink or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA)
  • you receive a disability support pension from Centrelink and are at least 50 years old, or
  • you have held a DVA Gold Card for at least one year before the transaction.

To assist you in determining your eligibility and to find out what documents you will need to keep, you can complete the following questionnaire.

Residency requirements

At least one buyer must live in the home continuously for at least a year. They must commence residence within one year of either the settlement date (for an eligible home) or the completion of the new home’s construction (for vacant land).

The Commissioner for ACT Revenue can exempt you from the residence requirements, in full or in part, but only if:

  • you cannot live in the home because of an unavoidable or unforeseen circumstance, such as a health-related issue; and
  • you request an exemption in writing no later than 18 months after:
    • the settlement date (for an eligible home)
    • the date you receive the Certificate of Occupancy and Use once construction of the new home is finished (for vacant land).

If you do not meet the residence requirements you will be liable to pay full conveyance duty in relation to the transaction unless an exemption is granted. Penalty tax or interest may also apply if the requirements are not met.

If you have any concerns about your residency, you should contact us as early as possible.

Conditions for deferral

The following conditions of deferral will apply:

  • Interest at the market rate will be charged and payable on the amount of deferred duty until it is paid in full.
  • The deferral period terminates on the transfer of the property for which you received the pensioner duty deferral, such as when the property is transferred to another person, or when the interest held by the pensioner to the transaction is transferred.

While this does not prevent you from making payments earlier before the property is transferred , you will need to ensure that any unpaid deferred duty and accrued interest  is paid in full before any part of the property can be transferred to another.

If you do not make payment of any unpaid deferred duty and accrued interest at the time of transfer, this is a tax default. When a tax default occurs, an additional interest rate of 8 per cent per year applies to the unpaid deferred duty and any interest. Penalty tax may also apply in certain circumstances. The Commissioner for ACT Revenue may also seek to recover any unpaid amounts.

How to claim

If you’re eligible for the Pensioner deferral scheme, enter the concession code number on the Buyer Verification Declaration before you lodge for registration at Access Canberra in Dickson.

You do not need to give us any other documents currently.

If you do not claim the Pensioner deferral scheme code number on the Buyer Verification Declaration, you can submit a late claim using the Application for concession, exemption or correction of duty after title registration form. When we receive your claim, we will issue you a notice of reassessment with the concession applied.

What happens next?

When you claim the Pensioner deferral scheme on the Buyer Verification Declaration and register your Transfer, we’ll issue you a Notice of Assessment for duty with the deferral applied. This will defer the amount of duty you have to pay based on the value of the home.

If the Notice of Assessment has a nil balance, you do not have to take further action.

After you’ve received your assessment, we may contact you to verify your eligibility for the deferral scheme. For example, we may require you to give us copies of any documents that support your eligibility. You need to keep copies of your supporting documents for at least five years after the transaction.

We review claims and conduct investigations into concession and deferral schemes on an ongoing basis.