A taxpayer has been successful before the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal in seeking a duty exemption in relation to a transfer of land to him from a company under s36 of the Duties Act 2000 (Vic) (property passing to beneficiaries of fixed trusts).

The background facts were complex.

  • The Tribunal heard details of a “trust company” purchasing a property for which stamp duty was paid.
  • The property consisted of 5 units on what was referred to as a “parent title”.
  • The Tribunal also heard details of a “property trust” for which the taxpayer was one of the “initial unit holders”.
  • The trust company was the trustee of the property trust.
  • The 5 units were renovated and a plan for subdivision was registered on 25 March 2013.
  • New titles were then created and one of these, referred to as the “child title” (Unit 2), was transferred to the taxpayer, by way of a land transfer document on 15 April 2013.
  • The document described the estate and interest being transferred as “all its estate in fee simple” and recorded the consideration as “an entitlement in equity”.
  • The taxpayer had 100 B Class units in the unit trust.

The Tribunal noted that central to the matter was an analysis of the trust deed itself. It also accepted that the trust deed must be read with its schedule. It accepted the taxpayer’s primary argument that s 36 applied and was satisfied that the original trust deed created not a single trust to benefit each of the described unit holders, but rather an initial unit trust and subsequent fixed trusts which came into existence upon the creation of the child titles. Accordingly, the Commissioner’s determination that duty was payable in relation to the subdivided property was set aside.

(Arrigo v Comr of State Revenue [2016] VCAT 1111, Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, Dyer VP, 5 July 2016.)