Skip to main content Skip to home page

Can I lodge a declaration of trust through Duties Online (DOL)?

Yes. All trust deeds executed on or after 1 October 2008 can be processed through DOL, including late lodgements.

From 26 November 2018, all trust deeds executed on or after 1 January 1982 can also be processed through DOL, including late lodgements. These include:

  • discretionary or family trusts,
  • unit trusts,
  • fixed trusts,
  • hybrid trusts,
  • custodian trusts established to enable a regulated superannuation fund to enter into a limited recourse borrowing arrangement.

How much duty do I have to pay on a declaration of trust?

You pay duty of $200 for a declaration of trust over non-dutiable property, such as cash or unidentifiable property.

A declaration of trust over dutiable property, such as land, attracts the general rate of duty

When do I have to lodge a declaration of trust  for assessment?

You must lodge the deed and pay duty within 30 days of the date of execution.

I have lost the original declaration of trust but need to pay duty on it. What should I do?

You should lodge all of the following documents for 'SRO determination' via electronic lodgement:

  • A deed of confirmation in relation to any trust deed for which a copy of the stamped deed cannot be produced.
  • A statutory declaration, by a person having knowledge of the steps taken to locate the original trust deed, detailing those steps. If an unstamped copy of the trust deed is available, you must attach a copy and explain how it was obtained.
  • Copies of financial statements and income tax returns of the principal trust for the last three financial years, showing whether the property was dealt with as an asset of the trust.

Late lodgement of a declaration of trust triggers a tax default to which penalty tax and interest applies. 

What is the penalty and/or interest payable for late lodgement of a declaration of trust?

Where late lodgement of a declaration of trust triggers a tax default:

  • The starting point for penalty tax is 25% of the default amount.
  • The interest rate is the market rate, which is adjusted annually, plus the premium rate.

Depending on the circumstances, penalty tax may be increased, reduced or remitted in full, while interest may be remitted partly or in full.

For more information on the factors the Commissioner of State Revenue takes into account in exercising their power to vary penalty tax or interest, refer to Revenue Ruling TAA-007v4.

Are there any exemptions available for declarations of trust?

Yes, there are exemptions available on declarations of trust, including those:

  • Made by an apparent purchaser over dutiable property - s34(1)(a) of the Duties Act 2000.
  • Made by a trustee/nominee over dutiable property to be held with no change in beneficial ownership - s35(1)(b) of the Duties Act 2000.
  • Establishing a special disability trust.
  • Establishing a superannuation trust or fund.
  • Made because of the breakdown of a marriage or domestic relationship.
  • Establishing a charitable trust.
  • That declares the same trusts as that by which trust over dutiable property was transferred to the trustee for which duty has been paid. 

Do I have to lodge my trust deed establishing the trust with the State Revenue Office for assessment, even if it is exempt from duty?

Yes. All trust deeds, except for superannuation trust deeds, must be lodged for 'SRO determination' via electronic lodgement.

I have a deed establishing a superannuation fund. Do I have to pay duty?

No, duty is not payable on a superannuation fund trust deed and you do not need to send it to us for assessment.

My trust deed was executed in another state or territory. Do I need to lodge it for assessment?

No. We only assess duty on trusts signed and executed in Victoria.

Does a declaration of trust made by a custodian trustee holding a property on trust for a regulated superannuation fund, as part of a limited recourse borrowing arrangement, need to be lodged with the State Revenue Office?

Yes, from 26 November 2018, all declarations of trust over dutiable property, including declarations made by the trustee of a custodian trust holding land on trust for a regulated superannuation fund under a limited recourse borrowing arrangement, need to be processed through DOL, including late lodgements.

This transaction is only exempt from duty in certain circumstances

Does a deed that appoints, retires or changes a trustee attract duty and need to be lodged for assessment?

No. There is no duty on deeds that replace a trustee or appoint a new trustee as these are not dutiable transactions. Do not lodge these deeds with us.

A deed of appointment, retirement or change of trustee only needs to be produced when you are applying for an exemption that relies on the continuity of the trust arrangement, as evidenced by all the amending deeds.

Does a deed of variation of a discretionary trust that adds and/or deletes beneficiaries or changes the vesting date attract duty? Does it need to be lodged for assessment?

Whether duty applies to the deed of variation depends on whether the variation is a declaration of trust to which duty applies (see s7(4) of the Duties Act 2000), and/or results in a change of beneficial ownership. The amount of duty will depend on whether the trust relates to dutiable or non-dutiable property.

These deeds of variation must be lodged for 'SRO determination' via electronic lodgement.

Do mortgage backed securities attract duty and need to be lodged for assessment?

No, duty does not apply to mortgage-backed securities.

What are the historical rates of duty on a declaration of trust?

Discretionary/family trusts

  • On or after 1 January 1982 - $200
  • Before 1 January 1982 - $1.50

Unit trusts

  • On or after  1 July 2001 - $200
  • 1 May 1997–30 June 2001 – no duty
  • Before 1 May 1997 - $10 as deeds
Last modified: 16 February 2021
Take a moment to tell us why. If you'd like a response to your feedback, please contact us online instead.
Back to top