Stamp duty land tax ― basic rules

By Tolley in association with Grant Thornton's stamp taxes team
Corporation_tax_img8

The following Corporation Tax guidance note by Tolley in association with Grant Thornton's stamp taxes team provides comprehensive and up to date tax information covering:

  • Stamp duty land tax ― basic rules
  • Acquisition of chargeable interest
  • SDLT rates and thresholds
  • Chargeable consideration
  • Linked transactions
  • Exemptions and reliefs
  • Exchanges
  • Contingent, uncertain or unascertained consideration
  • Partnership transactions
  • Transfer to connected company
  • Trusts
  • Anti-avoidance

Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) is generally payable on the purchase or transfer of interests in land and buildings in England, Wales and Northern Ireland where the amount paid is above a certain threshold. In addition, most of these land and property transactions must be notified to HMRC on an SDLT return, even if no tax is due. Please refer to the SDLT ― administration guidance note for further commentary on notifiable transactions.

It should be noted that from 1 April 2015, SDLT no longer applies in Scotland. Rather a newtax, Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT), applies to the acquisition of chargeable interests in land and buildings in Scotland. Please refer to the Revenue Scotland website  for further detail.

SDLT will also be devolved to Wales from April 2018 with the introduction of the Welsh Land Transaction Tax (LTT). Further information and draft legislation is available on the Welsh Government website .

Acquisition of chargeable interest

A land transaction requires the acquisition of a ‘chargeable interest’, which is defined quite widely to include:

  • an estate interest, right or power in or over land in England, Wales and Northern Ireland
  • the benefit of an obligation, restriction or condition affecting the value of any such estate, interest, right or power

The most common examples are the sale of freehold land and the assignment or grant of a lease, although other transactions such as payments to release a restrictive covenant are also potentially chargeable. There are specific exemptions from this definition for security interests and licences to occupy.

FA 2003, ss 42, 43, 48

In some cases, it matters whether a chargeable interest is a major interest in land, which is broadly either a freehold or leasehold interest.

More on Stamp Taxes: