A Guide To Stamp Duty
Stamp Duty (or Stamp Duty Land Tax to call it by its Sunday name) is a common cause of concern for first time buyers. With so many other fees, costs and logistical affairs to consider, Stamp Duty can feel like a looming and scary thing that threatens to make a costly and complicated affair even more costly and complicated. That’s why we’ve compiled this plain-speaking and jargon free guide to Stamp Duty to clarify and demystify this oft-reviled tax.
What is Stamp Duty?
Stamp Duty is a tax that’s payable on the sale of all homes bought in England and Northern Ireland over the value of £125,000. It applies not only to properties, but to land up to the same value, should you choose to self-build. It’s applicable both to freehold (where you own the land upon which the property sits) and leasehold (where you own the property but someone else owns the land) properties. Whether you’re buying outright or getting a mortgage, stamp duty still applies. Scotland and Wales have their equivalent taxes under different names. Scotland has the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) while Wales has the Land Transaction Tax (LTT). It needs to be paid within 30 days of the sale of the property.
What you can expect to pay
Like any tax, Stamp Duty is charged at different rates in different bands depending on the value of the property;
- For properties over £125,000 the rate is 2%.
- For properties over £250,000 the rate is 5%.
- For properties over £925,000 the rate is 10%.
- For properties over £1.5 million the rate goes up to 12%.
Very often, you can get a lower rate of Stamp Duty by asking a seller if they will accept slightly less than the asking price.
First time buyer? Breathe a sigh of relief!
The great news for first time buyers is that there is relief from stamp duty for properties under the value of £300,000. For properties up to a value of £500,000 Stamp Duty is only payable on the remaining amount up to £200,000. If, however, you are buying a property worth over £500,000 first time buyer’s relief unfortunately does not apply.
Keep in mind, however, that if you are buying with a partner, you both have to be first time buyers to be eligible for this relief. Of course, you could circumvent this by only using one name in the mortgage application but since the mortgage would only be based on a single income you may not be able to borrow as much.
Buy to let property and second homes
Stamp duty tax on buy to let property
If you’re looking for a property to rent out privately or as a second home, Stamp Duty works slightly differently. In this instance, the value threshold is just £40,000 although it does not apply to caravans, motor homes or houseboats. In the case of second homes and buy-to-let properties, Stamp Duty is charged at an extra 3% on top of the the current rate for each band. For example on a property worth over £125,000 but less than £250,000 the rate would be 5%.
As with most things, Stamp Duty isn’t so scary when you get to know it a little better.