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SO1 - Stamp Office: Stamp Duty on Buying a Freehold House in England, Wales and Northern Ireland

 

When Is Stamp Duty Payable?

Stamp duty is payable if the price of the house you are buying is more than 60,000. Stamp duty is payable on a purchase price of less than 60,000 only if the sale is part of a larger transaction or series of transactions. This is uncommon in most house sales and purchases. The normal 'chain' of buyers and sellers is not regarded as a series of transactions for this purpose.

What Is The Rate Of Duty?

If you buy a house at a price over 60,000 but not exceeding 250,000 duty is charged at 1%. For amounts over 250,000 but not more than 500,000 the rate is 3% and if the purchase price is more than 500,000 the rate is 4%.

The amount of duty you pay will depend upon the amount of the purchase price and whether the appropriate certificate of value is included in your document.

To qualify for the nil rate of duty .....

Where the purchase price is

  • 60,000 or less and
  • the sale is not part of a larger transaction or series of transactions

you will not need to pay stamp duty.

You will need to insert a certificate of value in the Land Transfer or Conveyance document which says that the purchase is not part of a larger transaction or series of transactions, for which the total purchase price is more than 60,000. If the document does not include this statement duty becomes payable.

To qualify for the rate of 1%

For a purchase price over 60,000 but not more than 250,000, the rate of duty is 1%. A statement will need to be included, to say that the document is not part of a larger transaction or series of transactions, for which the total purchase price is more than 250,000.

To qualify for the rate of 3%

For a purchase price over 250,000 but not exceeding 500,000, the rate of duty is 3%. The document must contain a statement to say that the total purchase price is not more than 500,000.

For property purchases over 500,000 no certificate of value is appropriate and duty is payable at the rate of 4%.

N.B. If a document does not contain the appropriate certificate, duty becomes payable at the higher rate of 4%, regardless of the amount of the purchase price.

These amounts are always rounded up to the next 5.

When Must The Duty Be Paid?

The Land Transfer or the Conveyance must be taken or sent to a Stamp Office within 30 days of the date on which it becomes effective. This is normally the date on the document.

A penalty is payable if the document is taken or sent to a Stamp Office after this 30 day period.

Interest will also be charged on any duty which is not paid within the 30 day time-limit. The value of the duty paid is normally stamped on

  • the Land Registry Transfer if the property is registered land or
  • the Conveyance if the property is unregistered

Who Pays The Duty?

The purchaser rather than the seller usually pays the stamp duty. Solicitors or other agents are often engaged by the purchaser to act in the transaction. In that case they may charge the purchaser the stamp duty and then pay it to the Stamp Office on their behalf.

Do Other Forms Need To Be Completed?

Yes. Forms L(A)451 (15 S Northern Ireland) and Stamps 61. The form L(A)451 needs to be completed with particular details of your house purchase and sent to us with the transfer or conveyance. The Stamps 61 is an application for stamping form which should accompany the documents and duty sent to the Stamp Office and will help ensure your application is dealt with speedily.

Where Can I Obtain The Forms I Need?

The forms L(A)451 and Stamps 61 can be obtained from any Stamp Office free of charge. The form 15S for Northern Ireland is available from Belfast Stamp Office. The other forms needed for transferring a freehold house can be purchased from any law stationers. They are not supplied by the Stamp Office.

Do All Transfers And Conveyances Need To Be Sent To The Stamp Office?

No. If

  • the purchase price is 60,000 or less and
  • stamp duty is not payable and
  • the property is on registered land

then you can send all of your documents straight to the Land Registry.

You will not need to complete a Stamps 61 in these circumstances but you will need to complete a form L(A)451. In Northern Ireland transfers or conveyances of unregistered land can be sent directly to the Registrar of Deeds, while documents which relate to registered land may be sent directly to the Land Registry

Does Buying With The Help Of A Mortgage Affect The Amount Of Stamp Duty Payable?

No. For example, if the house you are buying costs 85,000 and you have a mortgage of 70,000. Stamp duty is calculated on 85,000. So duty of 850 is payable, provided that a certificate of value for 250,000 is included in the document.

Does The Purchase In Joint Names Affect The Stamp Duty Payable?

No. Stamp duty is payable on the total purchase price no matter how many people are buying the property.

What Happens If Part Of The Purchase Price Is Deferred?

Stamp duty is payable on the total purchase price including any part deferred for later payment. For example, if the total price is 90,000 payable in two instalments, say 50,000 now and 40,000 in two years' time, stamp duty is calculated on 90,000, so that duty of 900 is payable subject to a certificate of value for 250,000, being included in the document.

Where Should The Documents Be Sent For Stamping?

Documents for stamping should be taken or sent to any of the following Stamp Offices.

Belfast Stamp Office
Ground Floor
Dorchester House
52-58 Great Victoria Street
Belfast BT2 7QE
028 90 505127
DX: 2003 Belfast 2

Birmingham Stamp Office
5th Floor
Norfolk House
Smallbrook
Queensway
Birmingham B5 4LA
0121 633 3313
DX: 15001 Birmingham 1

Bristol Stamp Office
The Pithay
All Saints Street
Bristol BS1 2NY
0117 927 2022
DX 7899 Bristol 1

Edinburgh Stamp Office
Grayfield House, Spur X
5 Bankfield Avenue
Edinburgh EH11 4AE
0131 4423161 DX: ED 543303 Edinburgh 33
DX mail for Edinburgh should be marked with a blue cross on both sides of the envelope.

London Stamp Office
Personal callers only
South West Wing
Bush House
Strand
London WC2B 4QN
020 7 438 7252/7452

Worthing Stamp Office
Postal applications only
Room 35
East Block
Barrington Road
Worthing BN12 4XJ
01903 508962
DX: 3799 Worthing 1

Manchester Stamp Office
Upper 5th Floor
Royal Exchange
Exchange Street
Manchester M2 7EB
0161 834 8020
DX: 14430 Manchester 2

Newcastle Stamp Office
4th Floor
Weardale House
Washington
Tyne & Wear
NE37 1LW

DX 61021 Newcastle-Upon-Tyne

Tel: 0191 261 1199
Fax: 0191 201 7392

Where To Go For More Information

You can contact any of the Stamp Offices listed above. Our staff will be pleased to help you. Alternatively you can telephone our Helpline on 0845 603 0135 for advice.

Do you know someone who has trouble reading ordinary print?

To obtain a copy of this leaflet in Braille or large print please ring 0845 603 0135 for more details.

We have a series of leaflets about different aspects of Stamp Duty. These are listed below.

SO1 Stamp Duty on Buying a Freehold House in England, Wales and Northern Ireland
SO1 (Scotland) Stamp Duty on Buying Land or Buildings in Scotland
S02 The Stamp Office Customer Promise and Service Information
SO3 If things go wrong ... Complaints and Lost Documents
SO5 Common Stamp Duty Forms and how to complete them
SO5 (Scotland) Common Scottish Stamp Duty Forms and how to complete them
SO6 A Short History of Stamp Duties
SO7 Stamp Duty and Leases
SO7 (Scotland) Stamp Duty and Leases in Scotland
SO8 Stamp Duty on Agreements Securing Short Tenancies
SO10 Stamp Duty Interest and Penalties : What happens when stamp duty is paid late or documents are not presented for stamping on time
SO11 Stamp Duty and Charities
SO99 Changes to Stamp Duty from 1st October 1999 : An introduction

You can get these free of charge from any Stamp Office.

The changes in this years budget mean increases in the rates of Stamp Duty on transfers of property over 250,000. This will also apply to assignments and lease premiums.

The new rates generally apply to documents executed on or after 28th March 2000 unless the contract was made on or before 21st March 2000, in which case the document will be charged at the old rate.

This leaflet is a short guide to the stamp duty payable when you buy a freehold property. It does not cover all the points that can arise so if you need more information you should contact a Stamp office. There is a separate leaflet if you are buying land or buildings in Scotland. If you would like one please contact Edinburgh Stamp Office.