The Law Institute of Victoria released a press statement on 22 November 2019 about a stamp duty issue that is in urgent need of reform.
Where a property has been transferred to an abuser, whether by undue influence, forgery or other means, and the victim is lucky enough to have the property recovered and transferred back to him or her, stamp duty has to be paid on that transfer.
This means that the victim has paid stamp duty once when the property was purchased, and once again on the re-transfer after the abuse.
There are stamp duty exemptions for many other situations, and we do not think there is any doubt that an exemption in these circumstances should also apply.
This is probably a case where, had Parliament had taken into account these sort of abuse situations, the exemption would have been provided for when the legislation was enacted. However, it was probably not taken into consideration, with the consequence that duty paid in these circumstances could be regarded as unintended.
Let us hope that the legislative wheels can turn quickly and an appropriate exemption enacted.