Stamp duty rules change today – you could receive a refund on delayed purchases

Stamp duty is levied on purchasers of homes but there are various rules which can affect how much is paid. For individuals purchasing a second home, it can become even more complicated.


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In a nutshell, there is currently a rule in place in England and Northern Ireland which can allow people to be issued with a refund.

In these countries, the purchase of a second home is usually subject to an additional amount of SDLT.

This cost would equate to three percent of the purchase value.

However, property purchases (as many will be aware) do not always run so smoothly and there can often be delays in the process.

There are laws in place to acknowledge this.

Where the property being purchased is a replacement home, a refund of the additional SDLT can be claimed if there is a delay in selling the first home.

This refund can be claimed where the first home is sold within three years of the new purchase.

Purchasing a property of any kind at the moment is difficult due to coronavirus and as such, HMRC has made an adjustment to the rules.

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Today, HMRC updated it’s guidance on exceptional circumstances that will allow refunds to occur outside of the usual three year time frame.

The update confirmed the following: “If you purchased your new main residence on or after 1 January 2017, you may still be eligible to apply for a refund if you were prevented from selling your previous main home before the expiry of the three-year time limit owing to exceptional circumstances beyond your control.

“More guidance can be found at SDLTM09807.”


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The rules and conditions for what is paid cover a lot of ground and so it is advisable that those affected should check the government’s manual on this for full clarity.

Currently, there is a SDLT threshold of £125,000 in place for residential properties.

This threshold increases to £150,000 for non-residential land and properties.

SDLT is usually not a concern for people making a first home purchase as there are exceptions in place for them.

If a person(s) is purchasing their first home, they can get a relief which will reduce what they owe or get rid of a SDLT bill entirely.

Lower amounts of tax (or none at all) will be paid if the purchaser:

  • Completed their purchase on or after November 22 2017
  • Paid £500,000 or less
  • Is a first time buyer

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