Stamp duty land tax

By Tolley

The following Owner-Managed Businesses guidance note by Tolley provides comprehensive and up to date tax information covering:

  • Stamp duty land tax
  • Introduction
  • Overview
  • Chargeable interests
  • Exemptions
  • Chargeable consideration
  • Exchanges
  • Contingent, uncertain or unascertained consideration
  • SDLT rates and thresholds: overview
  • SDLT rates and thresholds: residential land or property
  • SDLT rates and thresholds: non-residential or mixed-use properties
  • Higher rate of tax for non-natural persons
  • Partnership transactions
  • Transfer to connected company
  • Transfer to a limited liability partnership (LLP)


Stamp duty land tax (SDLT) was introduced for land transactions with effect from 1 December 2003. Whereas stamp duty was a tax on documents, SDLT is a tax based on the acquisition of a chargeable interest, whether or not evidenced in writing.

FA 2003, s 48(1)

When it was originally introduced, SDLT applied to all UK land transactions. Devolution has resulted in Scotland and Wales introducing their own regimes.

From 1 April 2015, land and buildings transaction tax (LBTT) applies to land transactions in Scotland. For details of LBTT, see Sergeant and Sims on Stamp Taxes AA12–AA22.

Scotland Act 2012, ss 28, 29, Sch 3; Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (Scotland) Act 2013 (both subscription sensitive)

From 1 April 2018, land transaction tax (LTT) applies to land transactions in Wales. For details of LBTT, see Sergeant and Sims on Stamp Taxes AA23–AA34.

Wales Act 2014, s 15; Land Transaction Tax and Anti-avoidance of Devolved Taxes (Wales) Act 2017 (both subscription sensitive)

Whilst the underlying rules applying to LBTT, LTT and SDLT are broadly similar in nature, the taxes are not identical. The rest of this guidance note covers the law which applies to transactions in England, Wales (before 1 April 2018) and Northern Ireland.

Note that a consultation  was published in February 2019 on the Budget 2018 proposal to introduce an additional 1% SDLT on purchases of residential property in England and Northern Ireland by non-UK residents. No time scale is given for the introduction of this surcharge; the consultation document states that this “will be legislated for in a future Finance Bill”.


Land transactions are chargeable to SDLT, unless they are specifically exempted or there is no chargeable consideration (subject to any specific anti-avoidance rules, see below).

SDLT is payable on the purchase or transfer of property

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