COMMONWEALTH PROPERTY LIABILITY TO STATE STAMP DUTY ON LEASE
CONSTITUTION, s. 114 : STAMP DUTIES ACT 1898 (N.S.W.), s. 4
This is a claim by the Commissioner of Stamps, Sydney, for stamp duty on the lease, from Sir Daniel Cooper to the Commonwealth, of the Federal Offices at 123 Macquarie Street, Sydney. I am asked to advise whether this duty is payable by the Commonwealth.
The duty is claimed under the (N.S.W.) Stamp Duties Act 1898. Section 4 of that Act provides that there shall be charged, levied, collected, and paid for the use of His Majesty, in respect of the several instruments and matters mentioned in the schedules, duties at the rate prescribed. The second schedule, containing the 'duties on deeds or other instruments relating to transactions between living persons', includes the heading'Lease'.
The Act nowhere makes express provision for payment of duty by the Crown, and on that ground alone I am of opinion that this claim is not maintainable. But apart from that, I am of opinion that this lease, which is an instrument of title belonging to the Commonwealth, is not subject to taxation by a State Parliament.
[Vol. 1, p. 237]