Everything you need to know about Stamp Duty

You’ll most likely have to pay Stamp Duty Land Tax when you buy a new home. We’re here to cover how Stamp Duty works, when it applies, how much you’ll have to pay, and how you can pay it. It’s pretty simple stuff, really.

Just to let you know - the following article relates to how stamp duty land tax affects individuals only. It does not apply to those hoping to purchase properties through companies.

What is stamp duty?

Stamp duty land tax (SDLT), commonly known as stamp duty, is a tax you might have to pay when purchasing a property or land in England and Northern Ireland.

If you’re purchasing property in Scotland, you’ll have to pay Land and Building Transaction Tax (LBTT). If you’re purchasing property in Wales, you’ll have to pay Land Transaction Tax (LTT).

Basically, if you’re buying a new home, or plot of land, you might have to pay a tax on it. We know… it’s not ideal, but something you don’t want to get caught out by when budgeting.

The rules that apply for paying stamp duty are when you:

  • Buy a freehold property (a property you own outright)
  • Buy a new or existing leasehold (a property you lease from a landlord)
  • Are transferred land or property in exchange for payment (e.g., you take on a mortgage from someone else)

When does stamp duty apply?

Whether or not you have to pay stamp duty depends on a few different factors. The general exemptions are as follows:

  • If you’re buying a property that falls below the stamp duty threshold (the value of which is below), you won’t have to pay any stamp duty. Further details regarding the stamp duty land tax holiday are explained further down below.
  • If you’re a first time buyer (along with anyone else you’re buying with), you won’t have to pay any stamp duty on properties under £425,000).

There we have it! If you fall within these two categories, then under the current stamp duty rules, you won’t have to pay a penny. If you fall outside these categories, then unfortunately you’ll have to pay stamp duty.

How much stamp duty do you pay?

The amount of stamp duty you’ll have to pay depends on the purchase price of the property you’re buying. It also depends on other factors, such as whether the homebuyer is a UK resident, if a company is buying the property, or whether the buyer already has an interest in another residential property (i.e., already owns a residential home).

The current stamp duty thresholds determine how much tax you’ll pay by a set of property price bands. The rates within these thresholds vary from 3% - 15% of the purchase price.

What are the rates for stamp duty?

Purchase Price

Stamp Duty Rate (Main Property)

Stamp Duty Rate (Additional Property)

Up to £250,000



Over £250,000 to £925,000



Over £925,000 to £1.5 million



Over £1.5 million



You might find yourself having to pay additional stamp duty, if you fall within the following categories:

  • If you already own a residential property, and you’re buying an additional property, the additional property will be taxed in a higher rate.
  • If you’re a non-UK resident, you’ll have to pay an additional 2% on top of existing stamp duty rates.

If you’d like to work out how much stamp duty you’ll have to pay, use our stamp duty calculator.

How do you pay stamp duty?

Your solicitor or conveyancer will likely file your stamp duty land tax return for you. This fee can either be paid in advance, or they can add the amount to their fees. It entirely depends on how you agree with them to pay it.

If you’d like to pay stamp duty yourself, you can do so by filing a return and paying the tax online. You can pay for stamp duty land tax here.

When do you have to pay stamp duty?

Once you complete the purchase of your new property, you have 14 days to send a stamp duty land tax return to HMRC.

That’s about it really! We’ve covered a few more questions that you might have below.

If you’d like to talk to a mortgage adviser, no matter what your question might be, we’re always here to help. You can get in touch with us here.

With regards to advice on stamp duty land tax, we recommend that you seek independent tax and legal advice as mortgage advisers are not qualified to offer tax advice.

Furthermore, if your buying situation is anyway complicated, i.e., buying more than one property, or you’re purchasing as a company, or non-resident, qualified tax advice should be sought.

Stamp Duty Questions

What is the Stamp Duty Holiday?

The Stamp Duty Land Tax Holiday was announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, on 8th July 2020. It means that whilst the holiday is in effect, the thresholds for Stamp Duty have been raised.

Until the 30th June 2021, homebuyers will not pay Stamp Duty on homes below £500,000. From 1st July to 30th September 2021, the threshold has been lowered so that homebuyers will not pay Stamp Duty on homes below £250,000 (£300,000 for first time buyers). From 1st October onwards, the Stamp Duty Land Tax Holiday will be over, at which time normal rates will resume.

Can you avoid paying Stamp Duty?

As we’ve already covered, you can only avoid paying Stamp Duty if you’re exempt for one of a few possible reasons:

  • If you’re buying a property that falls below the Stamp Duty threshold.
  • If you’re buying your first home (first time buyers will not pay Stamp Duty on homes below £300,000, from 1st July 2021 onwards).

Can you avoid paying Stamp Duty on second homes?

If you own a second property, even a property abroad, you’ll have to pay Stamp Duty (at an additional rate) on that second property. You can take a look at the Stamp Duty rates for additional properties above.

Do first time buyers pay Stamp Duty?

This depends somewhat on when you complete your house purchase. If you bought your new home before 30th June 2021, you wouldn’t have had to pay Stamp Duty on homes below £500,000.

If you buy from 1st July 2021 onwards, you won’t have to pay Stamp Duty on properties below £300,000. Even once the Stamp Duty holiday ends, first time buyers won’t have to pay Stamp Duty on homes below £300,000.

Do you pay Stamp Duty when you sell a house?

No, you only pay Stamp Duty when you buy any type of property, such as a house, flat, office, plot of land, etc. (assuming you’re not exempt from paying it).

Can you avoid paying Stamp Duty?

Unfortunately, not. Unless you’re a first time buyer buying a property under £300,000, or you’re buying a property under the current Stamp Duty threshold, you will have to pay Stamp Duty. Ultimately, however, it is a tax that most homebuyers have to pay.

If you’re struggling to afford the Stamp Duty Land Tax on your home, get in touch with your mortgage adviser who will be able to walk you through your next steps moving forward.

Can you claim back Stamp Duty?

While you can’t avoid paying Stamp Duty, you can reclaim Stamp Duty if you’re eligible for a refund.

The most common example is where someone has purchased a new main residence without selling their previous residence. If they sell their previous residence within three years, they’re eligible for a refund. In this instance, you’ll only be refunded the additional rate of your Stamp Duty bill that you would have incurred having owned two residential properties at the same time.

If you think you’re eligible for a Stamp Duty refund, you’ll have to complete a SDLT return. You can apply for a refund here.

Can Stamp Duty be paid in instalments?

No, unfortunately not. You have to pay Stamp Duty, in full, within 14 days of completion.

Can you add Stamp Duty to your mortgage?

Yes, you can – but it’s not so straightforward. You’ll have to pay Stamp Duty, in full, within 14 days of completing on your house purchase. So, Stamp Duty isn’t something you can pay off over the course of your mortgage.

You can, however, take out a larger loan to cover the cost of Stamp Duty before you have to pay it. Unfortunately, though, you’ll have to pay interest on the loan over the course of the mortgage term – which could mean that you end up spending much more in the long run.

Because we play by the book we want to tell you that…

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.
There may be a fee for mortgage advice. The actual amount you pay will depend upon your circumstances.
The fee is up to 1% but a typical fee is 0.3% of the amount borrowed.

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