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Stamp Duty


What is Stamp Duty?
'Stamp Duty' or 'Stamp Duty Land Tax' (SDLT), as it's now properly known, is a tax charged on land and property transactions in the UK. Stamp Duty is charged at different rates and has different thresholds for different types of property and different values of transaction.

How is it calculated?
SDLT is payable following completion of the purchase and is calculated by reference to the price. Different rates apply to the price calculated by “slices” (see the table below).

For example, a house bought at £280,000:

First £125,000 = £0 Next £125,000 = £2,500

Next £30,000 = £1,500

Total SDLT = £4,000

For investors or second home owners, there is an additional 3% SDLT “surcharge” payable on the whole of the price. Your legal advisers will be able to determine individual buyers’ liability to pay SDLT.

SDLT does not apply in Scotland. Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) applies instead. See Revenue Scotland’s website for further guidance.

Where did it come from?
Stamp Duty is an ancient tax, first introduced in the UK in 1694 during the reign of William and Mary to raise money for the war against France. At first it was a tax, or duty, on documents that required the Royal seal (or stamp) to be legally valid - documents like the transfer of ownership of land.
The 'Stamp Duty Land Tax' (SDLT) was introduced in 2003 and largely replaced Stamp Duty with effect from 1 December 2003.

Why do we have to pay it?
When you buy a property, the change in land ownership has to be legally registered at the Land Registry. This process requires a certificate from the HMRC - which they will only issue on receipt of the SDLT due on the purchase of the property. So, if you don't pay the Stamp Duty, you can't buy your new home. Just like it was 400 years ago.
Luckily, you don't have to worry about it: that's one of the things your solicitor takes care of.

Property or lease premium or transfer value      SDLT rate
Up to £125,000             Zero
The next £125,000 (the portion from £125,001 to £250,000)              2%
The next £675,000 (the portion from £250,001 to £925,000)              5%
The next £575,000 (the portion from £925,001 to £1.5 million)             10%
The remaining amount (the portion above £1.5 million)             12%