UK Stamp Duty

Stamp Duty is a tax paid to Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) on the transfer of ownership of property and shares in the UK. Below are tables showing the current stamp duty rates applicable.

For houses, the tax is called Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT). The transfer of shares is subject to Stamp Duty or Stamp Duty Reserve Tax (SDRT) depending on the type of transaction that's taken place.

The current system started in 2003 as a % of the total sale of the property. Solicitors complete all the necessary paperwork and sign a land transaction return form with the purchase details within it. It was meant to stop people selling a house for much less than it was worth and then charging a lot for fixtures and fittings to avoid going into the next tax band.

Stamp Duty Land Tax Rates - Residential

The rate of SDLT used to be a flat 1% under the Conservative Government in the 1980s and 1990s, but the "New Labour" Government increased the tax on all property bands. Rates continued to rise under the Coalition Government, but a shake-up in the charging structure occurred in the Winter budget of 2014.

Stamp Duty Land Taxes formUp to 2014, you'd pay the percentage on the total property price depending on the band the property price falls into in its entirety.

Now you pay a percentage of the value in each band. This change means there's not a large increase if a house sale is marginally over a certain threshold. The current rates are as follows:

If you purchase a second home or buy-to-let property, then you pay an additional 3% on the rates shown.

Example: A property sale worth £550,000 falls into the first three bands as follows:

You can calculate your tax bill using this online calculator at www.stampdutyrates.co.uk.

Stamp Duty Land Tax Rates - Commercial

Commercial properties have different rates of SDLT as follows:

These rates and payment structure haven't changed for many years and work using the same system previously used to calculate the residential taxes. Whatever band your commercial property purchase falls into, is the rate you pay on the full purchase value. For example, a property sale worth £325,000 has a charge of 3% or £9,750.

Up to date information on the rates charged are found HMRC website, together with all areas this tax effects.

Can You Avoid Stamp Duty?

As with all taxes, it may be difficult to avoid stamp duty charges although there are exempt areas. There are also different levels for disadvantaged areas (although currently these rates are less favourable than the standard rates shown above).

People who charge less for their home and value their fixtures and fittings at an unrealistic rate may have their sale scrutinised by the Inland Revenue. They can investigate sales for up to 9 months after the transaction has completed.

Stamp Duty on Shares

There are two types of duty levied on share purchases. Stamp Duty Reserve Tax (SDRT) is payable when stockbrokers use the CREST electronic trading systems which almost all of them do these days. It's a flat 0.5% of the purchase price paid no matter what the shares are actually worth.

For all other transactions that use a stock transfer form, the percentage is still 0.5% on the price paid for shares but rounded up to the next £5.

For those people betting on share movements, check out the amount of spread betting tax you pay on the profits of your ventures.