Vehicle licence duty

Duty is payable when a vehicle is licensed or a current licence is transferred.

The Road Traffic (Vehicles) Act 2012 requires the following vehicles to be licensed

  • a new vehicle - a vehicle that has not been used (or used only for the purpose of selling/demonstrating the vehicle or used for minor incidental purposes)
  • a used vehicle
  • a specialised vehicle which has specialised equipment attached to it.

Certain caravans must be registered but are not subject to vehicle licence duty.

The purchaser (transferee) is liable for duty as of the date the Department of Transport grants or transfers the licence. This is generally when the Notification of Change of Ownership Form is received and processed. This form is available from the Department of Transport.

  • Pay vehicle licence duty to the Department of Transport when the vehicle licence is transferred.
  • Pay vehicle licence duty to RevenueWA if a reassessment of vehicle licence duty is made.

To calculate the duty you need to pay, apply the appropriate rate of duty to the value of a vehicle.

See information about the imposition of vehicle licence duty under the Duties Act 2008 and the record keeping requirements for motor vehicle dealers.

A liability may exist within the Indian Ocean Territories as if they were Western Australia. See details of the arrangement between Western Australia and the Commonwealth.

See other videos on our YouTube page.

Rates of duty

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Use our online calculator to estimate how much duty you may need to pay.

Non-heavy vehicle (gross mass of 4.5 tonnes or less)

Dutiable value Value rate
Up to $25,000 2.75% of dutiable value
$25,000 - $50,000 R% of the dutiable value, where R = [2.75 + ((dutiable value - 25,000)/ 6,666.66)] rounded to 2 decimal places
Over $50,000 6.5% of dutiable value

Heavy vehicle (over 4.5 tonnes): 3% of Dutiable Value (capped to a maximum of $12,000)

Dutiable value

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The purchaser must estimate the dutiable value on the Notification of Change of Ownership form. The dutiable value needs to reflect what the vehicle would sell for on the open market. This may be different to the selling price.

For example, a father sells his vehicle to his daughter for $1,000. The Redbook website suggests that type of vehicle is valued at $10,000. The Department of Transport would assess vehicle licence duty on $10,000 instead of the price the daughter paid for her father's vehicle.

New vehicles

The dutiable value of a new vehicle which is not a heavy vehicle is the recommended retail selling price in Western Australia set by the manufacturer. This includes the optional features of a particular type of transmission (such as automatic or manual) or engine size (such as 1.8L or 2.0L). See information about how to calculate the dutiable value of new vehicles that involve promotional pricing.

Used vehicles or new heavy vehicles

The dutiable value of a used or new heavy vehicle is the amount for which the vehicle might reasonably be sold, free of encumbrances, in the open market. Redbook is used as a general guide to market value of a vehicle. The dutiable value includes additional features attached to the vehicle at time of licensing.

Vehicles with specialised equipment

Apply for an exemption when there is a grant or transfer of a licensed vehicle which includes specialised equipment, the dutiable value will be reduced by the value of the specialised equipment which has previously been levied with duty.

An explanation and examples of specialised equipment is provided in the form.

Nominal duty

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In certain circumstances, nominal duty of $20 will apply to the transfer of a vehicle licence.

Apply for nominal duty if the vehicle licence is transferred for any of the following reasons

  • winding up of a corporation or unit trust scheme
  • vesting or termination of a discretionary trust
  • power of appointment by a trustee of a discretionary trust
  • transfer by a trustee of a trust
  • apparent purchaser
  • change of trustee

Apply to the Department of Transport if the vehicle licence is transferred for any of the following reasons

  • breakdown of a marriage or de facto relationship (transfer by court order)
  • deceased estate

Exemptions and concessions

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Apply for the following exemptions or concessions

Apply to the Department of Transport if

  • no fee is payable under the Road Traffic (Vehicles) Act 2012 for a charitable exemption or interstate vehicle
  • duty has previously been paid on a vehicle (no change in ownership)
  • the dealer has acquired the vehicle to sell in the ordinary course of business or to use for demonstration purposes - use the Dealer's Certificate form.

Notify us if you have received an exemption and the use of the vehicle has changed to a non-exempt purpose.

Objecting to your assessment

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Lodging an objection does not remove or defer your liability. We may apply penalty tax if you don't pay your Transfer of Vehicle Licence Invoice by the due date. We will refund any vehicle licence duty overpaid as a result of a successful objection.

Contact us before lodging an objection as we may be able to resolve your enquiry.

If you believe you're entitled to an exemption that you haven't been granted or consider the dutiable value of the vehicle determined by the licensing authority is too high, you can object to your assessment 

  • within 60 days of the date of issue shown on the licensing authority's notice
  • in writing with OBJECTION clearly written at the top of the letter 
  • with a full and detailed explanation of the grounds of your objection.

Include a copy of the relevant transfer or vehicle licence.

Lodge your objection with

Commissioner of State Revenue
Office of State Revenue
GPO Box T1600
Perth WA 6845

See information about the objection and review process.

Page reviewed 31 August 2020