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What is Stamp Duty?

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What is stamp duty? How much will it cost you? We’ll explain this fully so you can work out how much you can expect to pay.

Stamp duty land tax (SDLT) is a tax you have to pay in England and Northern Ireland for a property, or piece of land, over the price of £250,000. It applies to all properties, both freehold and leasehold, whether you’re paying outright for your home or if you’re taking out a mortgage.

In Wales, stamp duty is known as the Welsh Land Transaction Tax. As in Scotland, the basics are similar but the bandings are different. You pay the tax on a home worth over £180,000.

Use our calculator below to give you an idea of what you’ll be paying.

Stamp Duty Calculator

The cost of moving house does add up, but for many, this is an unavoidable one. The amount you’ll pay depends on the property price and its value.

Do first-time buyers pay stamp duty?

In September 2022 it was announced that first-time buyers would be exempt from paying stamp duty for properties under £4250,000. First-time buyers purchasing a property up to £500,000 will only need to pay 5% tax on the portion of the purchase price only.

How much is stamp duty?

It varies on an increasing scale and is calculated based on the proportion of the value in each tax bracket. Using a stamp duty calculator can help you work out exactly how much you’ll be paying.

Stamp duty %Property value
0%£0 – £250,000 
5%£250,001 – £925,000
10%£925,001 – £1.5 million

If buying your first home you can claim a discount (relief). This means you’ll pay:

  • no SDLT up to £425,000
  • 5% SDLT on the portion from £425,001 to £625,000

What does the tax apply to?

You don’t pay stamp duty on any removable fixtures and fittings that come with your house. It’s only calculated on fixed items such as bathrooms, kitchens or built-in wardrobes.

Fixtures and fittings could be an opportunity to reduce your bill. First, decide with the seller (before the exchange) the exact cost of all removable fixtures and fittings included in the costs of the sale. If this is queried by HMRC, you need to be able to justify how you reached the exact figure when calculating what you owe.

When does stamp duty not apply?

There are some reliefs and exemptions which offer clarity on when the tax may and may not apply:

  • Buyers may be eligible for stamp duty relief if you are buying your home under the Right to Buy scheme
  • You don’t have to pay it if:
    • No money exchanges hands
    • You inherit the property (but you may have to pay inheritance tax)
    • The property is left to you in a will
    • You buy a freehold property for less than £40,000
    • Property is transferred because of divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership

How do I pay SDLT?

Your conveyancer or solicitor should manage this as part of the completion process so be sure to raise any specific queries with them.

It’s the buyer’s obligation to submit a stamp duty tax return within 14 days of being eligible to take ownership of a property. Even if you’re exempt from paying, you’re still required to submit a return. Failure to complete a return could result in penalties being applied by HMRC.

Need a professional?

If you’re buying a house and need conveyancing quotes, we can connect you with a solicitor, a trusted member of our experienced panel. They’ll be able to carry out a range of legal work and ensure the road to buying a house runs as smoothly as possible.

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Last Updated: January 18th, 2024