The Spending Review and Autumn Statement 2015 has outlined a number of changes to Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT).
From 1 April 2016, higher rates of SDLT will apply to the purchase of second homes worth over £40,000. The government has announced it will publish a consultation paper in due course. These rates will be 3% above the current SDLT rates for residential property:
Who will the rates apply to?
• Anyone buying additional residential properties that will not be their primary residence; and
• Homes bought for buy-to-let purposes.
When will the rates not apply?
• Corporate or fund purchasers that make significant investments in residential property. A consultation will consider whether the ownership of more than 15 residential homes is considered as a “significant investment”;
• Residential home owners where the property is their primary residence; and
• Second/additional properties bought before April 2016.
It is unclear whether the higher rates of SDLT will apply to current homeowners who wish to buy a new primary residence, while converting their existing property into a buy-to-let.
The government has also announced that it will consider changes to the SDLT filing and payment process in 2016, to be introduced under the Finance Bill 2017. One of the considerations will be to reduce the deadline for paying SDLT from 30 days to within 14 days of the effective date. It has not been declared whether the effective date will change, which currently stands at the date of completion, the date of substantial performance or the date of access.
It is unclear as of yet whether these changes will impact on residential properties with contracts exchanged before 1 April 2016 and scheduled for completion thereafter. When SDLT changes were introduced in December 2014 buyers were given the option of which rules to use, as benefit could be derived from using either rule depending on the price of the property. We hope that the government will follow the commercially pragmatic approach and do not impose the new regime on buyers who exchanged contracts prior to 1 April 2016.
Please note that this information is provided for general knowledge only and therefore specific advice should be sought for individual cases.
For further information, please contact Andrew Nicklinson at or Paul Jagger at