All you Need to Know About Stamp Duty Land Tax

Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) was introduced on 1st December 2003 to replace stamp duty. Stamp duty was a charge on documents and was easily avoided by ensuring that there was no 'stampable' document. SDLT does not depend on documents. It is a tax on land transactions and aims to capture any transfer or creation of value in land for consideration.


Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) was introduced on 1st December 2003 to replace stamp duty. Stamp duty was a charge on documents and was easily avoided by ensuring that there was no 'stampable' document. SDLT does not depend on documents. It is a tax on land transactions and aims to capture any transfer or creation of value in land for consideration. 

Strict time limits for reporting land transactions and for paying the tax are reinforced by automatic penalties and interest charges. The Land Registry cannot register a notifiable transaction without confirmation that SDLT has been properly dealt with. 

When can SDLT be charged?

SDLT can be charged on any;

  • estate
  • interest
  • right, or
  • power

in or over land in the United Kingdom. 

How much SDLT will I be charged?

You will pay 0% for the first £125,000, 2% on the portion up to £250,000, 5% up to £925,000, 10% up to £1.5m and 12% on anything above that.

For example, if you purchase a home worth £420,000, you pay no SDLT on the first £125,000, £2,500 on the portion up to £250,000 and a further £8,500 on the remaining £170,000.  Therefore, your total SDLT will be £11,000.

When do I pay SDLT?

Your lawyer will normally pay stamp duty for you on completion of the sale.

Can I avoid SDLT?

You can avoid SDLT if:

  • the property you are buying is less than £125,000
  • you transfer a proportion of the family home’s value to your spouse upon divorce

Do you pay the same amount of SDLT on a buy-to-let?

Yes, you will pay an extra 3% on each tier.

Do first-time home buyers have to pay SDLT?

First-time buyers have to pay the same stamp duty rates as everybody else.

Is stamp duty payable on fixtures and fittings? 

No, stamp duty is not payable on things like domestic appliances (washing machines, dishwashers), carpets, curtains and furniture. If these items are included in the price you pay for the house, they can be deducted so they are not included in the figure used to calculate SDLT.

If you have any questions about SDLT, please contact an experienced property law solicitor.

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