How to avoid fees when transferring property to family | Finder

Can you avoid fees and charges when transferring property within the family?

Learn how tax and charges work when gifting or selling property to family.

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Transferring or gifting property to a family member can be as simple as submitting a property transfer form . But there are costs involved, even when the property is a given as a gift. You still have to pay stamp duty on the market value of your property and potentially capital gains tax (CGT) as well.

Knowing the proper way to transfer property within your family, and how to avoid being charged hefty fees is essential when thinking about any kind of property transfer. And however you decide to execute the property transfer it is vital to have a qualified conveyancer or solicitor guide you through the process.

Ways to transfer the property

There are two ways you can transfer a property to a family member: gifting and selling.


You can give ownership of your property to a family member as a gift. This simply requires filling out the necessary paperwork with your state revenue office and title office, including a Transfer of Land. Your conveyancer may advise you to organise a Deed of Gift as well.

No money changes hands in this scenario, but you are still liable for the paperwork processing fees and the stamp duty costs. If the property was not the seller's primary residence there will likely be CGT costs as well (more on that below).


You can of course sell your property to a family member. Parents will often sell to a child this way, and may adjust the price to cover their costs while offering their child a better deal than they would have received on the market.

But again you will be liable for stamp duty and it will be calculated based on the property's market value and not the sale price (if selling at a discounted price). Also, if the property is not the seller's main residence (say, if it was an investment property) then capital gains tax will probably apply as well.

Professional valuation

Even when selling or gifting a property to a family member you need to determine the property's market value. The government uses this "true" valuation to determine the stamp duty and CGT costs regardless of the discounted selling price.

The Australian Tax Office says, "You should obtain a valuation from a professional valuer, or work out the market value yourself using reasonably objective and supportable data. This can include the price paid for very similar property that was sold at the same time in the same location."

What fees will you pay when transferring property to family?

Below are a few examples of fees and charges that may apply when you are transferring or gifting property within your family:

Fees paid by the original owner

  • Capital Gains tax (CGT). The CGT cost will depend on the amount of capital gain or capital loss resulting from the CGT event. In event of a capital gain, your total gain amount will be the difference between your capital proceeds and the cost base of your asset. The actual CGT amount you pay depends on your income, as it’s added to your income tax for the applicable year. Read more about CGT when selling in our in-depth guide.
  • Valuation costs. You might need to have the property value determined by a certified valuer before transferring or gifting your property. This is so you will know how much you will report that you have gained or loss when filing your income taxes. Independent valuations cost between $300 - $900 depending on where the property is.
  • Legal fees. You should have a conveyancer or solicitor oversee the property transfer and have them draw up contracts or transfer documents with title details, the value and determined price of the property, and personal details for both parties. These legal documents can be used in case the validity of the property transfer is ever questioned.

Fees paid by the new owner

  • Stamp duty. Also referred to as Stamp Duty Land Tax, this tax is calculated on the value of the property or land that is being transferred or gifted and is represented as a percentage. Some purchases may be exempt from stamp duty, so check with your state office of revenue. Stamp duty is calculated based on the state you're in. Use our calculator for a rough guide on how much this would be.
  • Legal fees. You should have a conveyancer check over everything before signing.

Example transaction: selling a property to a family member at a discount

Vanessa and James own a home in NSW. They sell it to their son Tom for $300,000, knowing that it's true value is higher. Tom pays them $300,000 and Vanessa and James get a professional property valuer to look at the property. The valuer puts the property's market value at $500,000.

Tom's costs therefore are:

  • Sale price: $300,000
  • Stamp duty (calculated on $500,000 for non-first home buyers): $17,990
  • Transfer and mortgage registration fees: $328

Vanessa and James have used the house as their primary residence for more than ten years. Therefore they won't have to pay CGT.

How to avoid fees and charges when transferring property

When you gift your property you are still charged CGT, even if you sell the property for a small amount to a family member or friend. As the ATO states, the property is calculated at market value if you:

  • Receive no money for your property
  • Receive less than the market value for your property; or,
  • Do not deal at arm's length with the buyer during the sale event

Dealing at arms length refers to both parties in the sale acting independently and having no "influence or control over each in connection with the transaction".

You might be able to avoid hefty fees when transferring or gifting properties in some select situations and scenarios where CGT and other charges will not apply. Below are some examples of these situations:

  • If you acquired the asset before 20 September 1985: This date is when CGT came into effect, so any property or assets that were acquired before this date may be exempt from CGT.
  • If the property being transferred is your home (main residence): If you have been living at the property and have indicated it as your main place of residence (ie. the address is on your current driver’s license and you receive mail there) then you may be exempt from CGT when gifting or selling a property to another.

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84 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    LeighDecember 10, 2019

    If spouse is living in a house as joint tenants (ownership) decide to transfer their property fully to one, must the other pay capital gains tax on the transfer? Assuming that the couple continues to live in the house?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoshuaDecember 12, 2019Staff

      Hi Leigh,

      Thanks for getting in touch with Finder. I hope all is well with you. 😃

      Regarding your question, Leigh, I can’t tell you exactly whether there will be Capital Gains Tax (CGT) or not on the transfer. However, if both of you continue living in the house as your main residence, there could be a CGT exemption (so no CGT) but it depends on the state. Nevertheless, it is more likely that you will probably have to pay stamp duty.

      I would strongly suggest you confirm with your state or territory government.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!


    Default Gravatar
    MariaAugust 31, 2017

    I have a question about the landtax tax claim and hope that you can help.
    last FY, I has 1 IP and thus my land tax cost is 3K.
    for this FI year my landtax cost is 12K as I had have another IP.
    Question. For the tax perspective, how do I claim back the Land tax on each property. Should I claim 3K land tax of the 1st IP and 9K on the second IP or should calculate the landtax cost of each IP based on their land value.

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      HaroldSeptember 4, 2017Staff

      Hi Maria,

      Thank you for your inquiry.

      I’m afraid we are not able to provide you with specific answers to your questions as we are not tax experts. However, visiting your local tax office or speaking to a qualified financial adviser should help you get more details about your query.

      Moreover, please feel free to read our tax tips to help you get as many savings as possible in your tax filing.
      I hope this information has helped.


    Default Gravatar
    PatriciaApril 10, 2017

    My mother died and left me the house and an adjoining residential block of land. Probate will not be final until the end of year. Can I gift the block of land to my husband and if so will stamp duty be applicable?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      HaroldApril 11, 2017Staff

      Hi Patricia,

      Thank you for your inquiry. I’m sorry to hear about your mother.

      Regarding your question, I’m afraid even if the property is given as a gift, there’s a cost involved. You still have to pay stamp duty on the market value of your property and potentially capital gains tax (CGT) as well.

      If you wish to learn more, please read our guide on transferring properties to family members.

      With your current concern, you would need to seek a piece of advice as well from a solicitor for a legal and expert opinion.

      I hope this information has helped.


    Default Gravatar
    NatalieJanuary 19, 2017

    After our daughter’s marriage breakup, we took out a small mortgage loan and together with some of our savings bought a house for her and her two children in our names. Once her marital home was sold off, she paid off the mortgage loan and now owes us the remainder – paying us on a regular basis. We are keen to transfer the house into her name. Is this a relatively straightforward process?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      DeeJanuary 20, 2017Staff

      Hi Natalie,

      Thanks for reaching out!

      Regarding your question, I’m afraid I can’t provide specific answers as we are not we are not experts when it comes to changing property ownership.

      Each state has different processes and fees relating to changing the property deed. It would be best to reach out to the local government agency that handles property titles and deeds to discuss the process involved in changing ownership.

      Additionally, our guide to changing property ownership may also help you.


    Avatarfinder Customer Care
    DeeOctober 13, 2016Staff

    HI Lyn,

    Thanks for your question.

    When you gift your property, generally, CGT still applies. The Australian Government refers to this process as a ‘CGT event’. As the ATO states, the property is calculated at market value if you:

    – Receive no money for your property
    – Receive less than the market value for your property; or,
    – Do not deal at arm’s length with the buyer during the sale event

    You can learn more how much CGT you will be paying for your transfer by reaching out to a Property Tax Specialists. Just provide your information on the above form.


    Default Gravatar
    MarkAugust 30, 2016

    Me and my younger sister are on a disability pension and still living at home with our parents who are also on a pension. My parents want to transfer the house over in our names so that my older brother and older sister cannot contest the property in the will.

    If I calculated this correctly, it will cost around $12,000 in stamp duty, if say the house was worth around $600,000. We can’t afford that! We will never sell the house, but will remain living in it long past our parents have moved on.

    Why is it such an absolute rip off to place a bit of ink on a piece of paper that says: the house now belongs to me and my sister?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      MayAugust 30, 2016Staff

      Hi Mark,

      Thank you for contacting we are a financial comparison website and general information service we are not mortgage specialists so can only offer general advice.

      Stamp duty is usually paid by the new owner when a property is being gifted or transferred to them, depending on where your property is located, some transfer may be exempt from stamp duty. It’s best to check with your state office of revenue if exemption might be available to you.

      Hope this helps.


    Default Gravatar
    AlisonAugust 26, 2016

    If my mother was to gift me the title of her house that she purchased in 2014 and currently lives in (and will continue to live in), will she be required to pay CGT given its her primary residence?
    I understand I would have to pay stamp duty on market value.

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      MaySeptember 1, 2016Staff

      Hi Alison,

      Thank you for contacting Finder.

      CGT is actually applicable even when the property is being gifted. However, there are circumstances that CGT may not be applied if the property is your main place of residence and not for any profit-making purposes. So most likely, your mother may be exempt from paying CGT. Please read our CGT and selling property guide for more details.


    Default Gravatar
    CarolynAugust 19, 2016

    i have lived in a family trust property for the last 20 years, paying rent – the property is going to be transferred into my name – what fees will i have to pay?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      MayAugust 19, 2016Staff

      Hi Carolyn,

      Thanks for your question.

      As a new owner of the property, most likely, you will have to pay for stamp duty, which is based on the value of the property. you can also read our stamp duty guide for you to find more information how this stamp duty being calculated.

      You may also like to check with your state office of revenue if stamp duty exemption might be applied to you.

      I hope this has helped.


    Default Gravatar
    TracyAugust 8, 2016

    Hi,my husband and i will be knocking down our main residence of 22 years which is mortgage free and our daughter and son in law will be paying for the majority of a duplex to be built on the land.
    We will be putting their names on the title deeds to allow them to apply for a mortgage then will be separating into 2 titles at the end of construction.
    Is there a way to minimise stamp duty?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      MayAugust 9, 2016Staff

      Hi Tracy,

      Thank you for contacting Finder.

      Generally, your stamp duty depends on the value of your property. The Office of State Revenue where your property is located will be also able to determine the stamp duty charges. You can learn more about that on our stamp duty guide. It’d be best to check with your state revenue office to find out how much tax will be applied to you.


    Default Gravatar
    SonjaJune 27, 2016

    Hi there

    my sister and I currently have a mortgage on a house which is our primary residence. I am now married and will be moving out to buy a new residential property with my husband so my sister will be buying me out.

    Does she/we have to pay stamp duty on the existing property even though we both currently live in it?

    thanks a lot

      Default Gravatar
      JodieJune 27, 2016

      Hi Sonja,

      Stamp duty is a fee paid at the time of purchase and often when refinancing depending on the circumstances. A mortgage broker can better confirm this for you. It is not something that you can be exempt from due to the property being your main place of residence. You will most likely be exempt from capital gains tax due to the property being the main place of residence for your sister and yourself and not for any profit-making purposes.


      Default Gravatar
      SonjaJune 28, 2016

      thank you

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