Department of Finance

Insurance Duty

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What is insurance duty?

Insurance duty is a duty payable on general insurance policies.

Duty is calculated at a rate of 10% on the total premium paid in relation to the policy of general insurance. 

Common general insurance policies cover motor vehicles, house and contents, travel insurance, non-life insurance etc.

General insurance is any kind of insurance that is applicable to property in Western Australia, or a risk, contingency or event concerning an act or omission that, in the normal course of events, may occur within, and/or partly within, Western Australia.

A duty 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.


What is a premium?

A premium is the total consideration paid to an insurer by, or on behalf of, an insured person. If the total consideration is inclusive of goods and service tax (GST), that amount will be included as part of the premium.

Who is liable for insurance duty?

A general insurer is usually liable to pay duty. However, an intermediary or an insured person is liable if the insurer is not a general insurer.

General Insurer

A general insurer is an entity or person that:

  • writes general insurance
  • is authorised under the Insurance Act 1973 (Cth) or registered under the Life Insurance Act 1995 (Cth)

The Insurance Commission of Western Australia (and any similar body of another State or Territory) is classified as a general insurer.


An intermediary is an entity or person that effects a policy of insurance with an entity or person other than a general insurer. 

Insured person

An insured person is someone who has obtained a policy of insurance from an entity or person who is not a general insurer or an intermediary.

Do I have to register for insurance duty?

You must register to lodge and pay insurance duty on a monthly return if you are:  

  • a general insurer (Note: Lloyd's Underwriters are treated as a general insurer)
  • an intermediary who effects a policy of insurance with an entity or person other than a general insurer or unregistered insured person
  • an insured person and have obtained a policy of insurance from an entity or person who is not a general insurer or an unregistered intermediary

How do I register for insurance duty?

You can register for insurance duty via Revenue Online.

Once you have registered for insurance duty, please ensure you notify this office of any changes to your organisation or contact details.


Can premiums be apportioned between jurisdictions?

Yes. A schedule prepared by all Australian jurisdictions provides guidance on the apportionment of insurance premiums paid for contracts of general insurance where more than one jurisdiction has nexus to the contract of insurance.


When is the monthly return due for lodgment and payment?

All registered insurance duty clients (general insurers, intermediaries, insured persons) must lodge and pay their monthly return via Revenue Online on or before the 21st of each month. A nil return must be lodged even if you did not receive any insurance premiums.

Late payment penalty tax may apply if the return is not lodged and paid by the due date. For full details please refer to Commissioner’s Practice TAA 20.

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Do any exclusions apply?

Yes. General insurance does not include any of the following:

  • life insurance
  • insurance against an employer’s liability to pay compensation under the Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981
  • reinsurance (that is, the indemnification of one party by another against liability or payment arising under a contract of insurance or reinsurance)
  • insurance in respect of goods in the course of being transported, whether by rail, road, air or sea, and whether within Western Australia or elsewhere
  • insurance in respect of a marine hull used primarily for commercial purposes
  • insurance effected by an exempt body (under s92 of the Duties Act 2008)
  • insurance issued by a private health insurer (as defined in the Private Health Insurance Act 2007 (Cth) Schedule 1) in the course of its health insurance business (as defined in section 121(1) of that Act)
  • insurance under the Defence Service Homes Insurance Scheme (as defined in the Defence Service Homes Act 1918 (Cth) section 38)
  • offshore risk insurance
  • insurance of a prescribed class


Are there any exemptions?

Yes. General insurance effected by an exempt body is not liable for insurance duty. An exempt body specifically refers to a public authority that is declared as such by the Minister of Finance with notice of declaration published in the Government Gazette.

Please note there are no provisions in the legislation for exemptions for religious organisations, public benevolent institutions, charitable bodies and organisations.

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