Stamp duty reserve tax
Stamp duty reserve tax (SDRT) was introduced by Finance Act 1986 to ensure that a charge equivalent to stamp duty would apply on the transfer of uncertificated securities. As there is no document transferring the shares in a paperless transaction, and therefore no document to stamp, without SDRT there would be no mechanism to collect the stamp duty.
In practice, the majority of SDRT is paid automatically on stock exchange transactions dealt with electronically via the UK Central Securities Depository (CREST). Analysis of the application of SDRT to financial market trading is not outlined further in this guidance note.
Transfers of securities outside CREST are normally effected by a transfer document on which stamp duty is paid. This generally has the impact of cancelling any SDRT liability (see below). Nevertheless, taxpayers and advisers need to be aware of the potential application of SDRT where there are agreements to transfer securities, in particular looking out for situations where there is an agreement to which SDRT applies but no corresponding document which is subject to stamp duty. Without further planning, the SDRT liability would not be extinguished in such circumstances.
On 21 July 2020, the Government issued a call for evidence inviting views on the design for a new framework for stamp duty and stamp duty reserve tax, which will help inform a broader long-term modernisation of the regimes. The consultation closed on 13 October 2020.
SDRT applies where there is an unconditional agreement, whether documented or otherwise, to transfer 'chargeable