14 March 2018

Will you have to pay Stamp Duty on your new home?

Buying a home comes with all sorts of additional costs to consider, besides the price of the property itself.

For example, there are moving costs, legal costs and, of course, Stamp Duty.

Not everyone has to pay Stamp Duty on their property purchase though, and the system itself varies depending on precisely where in the UK you are buying.

How Stamp Duty works in England

Stamp Duty Land Tax, to give its full name, is a tax paid by homebuyers when purchasing a property. It works on a band basis, and the table below shows how those bands are organised.

Purchase price Stamp Duty rate
Up to £125,000 0%
£125,001 - £250,000 2%
£250,001 - £925,000 5%
£925,001 - £1.5m 10%
£1.5m+ 12%

The tax rate you pay is based on how much of the purchase price falls within each band.

So for example, if you buy a property for £150,000, you won't pay any Stamp Duty on the first £125,000.

As a result, your bill will be 2% of the remaining £25,000, so a total of £500.

If you buy a home for £500,000, then you won't pay any tax on the first £125,000. But you will pay 2% on the next £125,000 of the purchase price (from £125,000 to £250,000) and then 5% on the remainder (from £250,000 to £500,000).

This means a total tax bill of £15,000.

Second homes cost more

It's important to note that the table above only applies to residential purchases when it is your only property.

If you're buying a second home, for example as an investment, then you will be charged an additional 3% on each band.

This is an important consideration if you re helping a loved one, such as your child, to buy a property. While this may be their only property, if you take out a joint mortgage with them, then they will have to pay this higher rate of Stamp Duty.

The first-time buyer exemption

In last year's Budget, the Chancellor Philip Hammond announced a change of Stamp Duty rules for first-time buyers. As a result, when purchasing a property for less than £300,000, first-time buyers will not have to pay any Stamp Duty at all.

What's more, if they buy a property for less than £500,000, they will pay no Stamp Duty on the first £300,000 of that purchase price.

According to the government this will save first-time buyers up to £5,000.

Stamp duty is different in Wales and Scotland

In Wales and Scotland, different systems apply.

In 2015 Scotland introduced the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT). Much like Stamp Duty, the amount you pay is determined by how much of the transaction falls within specific bands, detailed in the table below:

Purchase price LBTT rate
Up to £145,000 0%
£145,001 - £250,000 2%
£250,001 - £325,000 5%
£325,001 - £750,000 10%
£750,000+ 12%

Second homes are subject to an 'additional dwelling supplement' of 3%.

Meanwhile Wales is introducing its own Land Transaction Tax (LTT) for purchases made after 1st April 2018.

It works the same way as the English and Scottish system, with different tax bands each with their own rate. The Welsh LTT bands are:

Purchase price LTT rate
Up to £180,000 0%
£180,001 - £250,000 3.5%
£250,001 - £400,000 5%
£400,001 - £750,000 7.5%
£750,001 - £1.5m 10%
£1.5m+ 12%

Again, second homes are subject to an additional charge of 3% on each band.

When do I pay Stamp Duty?

When you buy a property, you will need to submit a Stamp Duty Land Tax Transaction Return within 30 days of completion. Your solicitor will often handle this for you — you send them the money for the tax and they will then hand it over to the taxman.

If you miss this deadline, you may face a fine as well as an interest charge on the tax you owe.

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About the author

John Fitzsimons

John Fitzsimons is an award-winning financial journalist who has written for publications including the Sunday Times, The Mirror, Forbes, Moneywise and loveMONEY.

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