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Motor vehicle duty is payable under the Duties Act 2000 (the Act) when:

  • A motor vehicle is first registered with VicRoads.
  • Registration is transferred into someone else’s name.
  • The predominant use of a motor vehicle changes.

It is calculated on the dutiable value of the vehicle. Revenue Ruling DA-022 clarifies the meaning of dutiable value of a new motor vehicle. 

A licensed motor car trader (LMCT) has responsibilities under the Act regarding registration and paying duty. There are also exemptions available to LMCTs (Chapter 9 of the Act ).

Registration and duty payments  

New vehicles

You must register a new vehicle with VicRoads. You can register new vehicles directly into a customer’s name or into your own name.

In either case, duty must be paid to VicRoads at the time of the registration application unless an exemption applies.

Used vehicles

Applications for the transfer of registration of a used vehicle into the buyer’s name must also be lodged with VicRoads. You must pay duty and the transfer fee within 14 days of delivering the vehicle.

Both the buyer and the LMCT are jointly and severally liable to pay the duty. If you, as an LMCT, have collected the duty from the buyer, you are solely liable for paying the duty to VicRoads.  

Refunds, exemptions and reductions

Refunds for purchasers

If you collect too much duty from a vehicle purchaser, they are entitled to be refunded the excess amount from you.

In such cases, you should contact us via email to arrange authorisation of a refund from VicRoads, which you can then pass on to the purchaser.  

Refunds for dealers

You can request a duty refund in certain circumstances, such as overpayment, sale cancellation, incorrect registration or double payments.

In these cases, contact us via email, referring to 'Motor Vehicle Duty Exemption/Refund' in the subject line, to arrange authorisation of a refund from VicRoads. 

What exemptions are available?

If you are an LMCT carrying on the business of:

  • Wholesale dealings in motor vehicles, you may be entitled to an exemption on trading stock used solely for that purpose.
  • Retail dealings in motor vehicles:
    • You may be entitled to an exemption on trading stock or demonstrator vehicles used predominantly for either or both of these purposes.
    • From 1 July 2019, you may be entitled to an exemption on a service demonstrator vehicle. This is a motor vehicle used by you to sell another motor vehicle of the same class which is made available free to your customer for use while their motor vehicle is being serviced. 

It is important that you apply these exemptions correctly. LMCTs are not automatically entitled to a duty exemption on every car acquired.

You must lodge an application with all supporting documents relevant to the circumstances of each exemption/concession so we can process your request.

Detailed information about these exemptions is contained in Revenue Ruling DA.034.

More about motor vehicle duty exemptions and concessions

More about trading stock

Change of vehicle use from trading stock demonstrator vehicle, or service demonstrator to other non-exempt use

Duty is charged when the predominant use of a motor vehicle, which was previously exempt from duty because it was used as trading stock, a demonstrator vehicle or a service demonstrator vehicle, changes to some other use. Duty is charged at the equivalent rate to the general rates. 

You must notify us within 14 days when the motor vehicle use changes from 'solely/primarily for the purpose of sale/demonstration' to another purpose, such as a customer loan car or service vehicle.

Revenue Ruling DA-035 provides guidance about determining when a change in the predominant use of a motor vehicle, from trading stock, a demonstrator vehicle, or a service demonstrator vehicle has occurred.

More about change of use

Drive-away deals

New vehicles may be sold as part of a drive-away deal. In these circumstances, you only have to pay duty on the dutiable value of the vehicle, not the drive-away deal price. To calculate the dutiable value of the drive-away deal, registration costs must be subtracted from the drive-away deal price with the balance divided by the relevant dividing factor.

2019-20 guidelines for drive-away deals

Compliance

We conduct compliance activities, including data matching, focused on validating dutiable values declared on applications for registration and transfer. Verification of applicant entitlements to the duty exemptions they have received for individual vehicles is also carried out.

Penalties may apply in cases of undervalued motor vehicles and incorrectly claimed exemptions.

For more information, refer to:

Useful links