Stamp Duty for Buy to Let Property


    Stamp Duty for Buy to Let Property

    Stamp duty tax liability for anyone purchasing an additional property has increased from April 2016.

    This means the majority of buy to let purchases now attract an additional 3% stamp duty surcharge. There is a lower starting threshold of £40,000 which means nearly all buy to let transactions will now be subject to SDLT.

    Above the £40k threshold, the higher stamp duty rate will apply to all buy to let purchases unless total individual ownership is limited to a single dwelling, ie the purchaser does not already own other residential property.

    Stamp Duty Changes 2016

    In his Autumn Statement on the 25th November 2015, the Chancellor George Osbourne quoted: "People buying a home to let should not be squeezing out families who can't afford a home to buy. So I am introducing new rates of stamp duty that will be three per cent higher on the purchase of additional properties like buy to lets and second homes."

    The changes have increased the stamp duty tax on a £275k buy to let purchase from £3,750 to £12,000. The changes also apply to property being purchased as a second home.

    Existing Property Owners

    For someone who already owns a buy to let property, who wishes to purchase another one to rent out, the higher SDLT rate will now apply. The higher SDLT rate will also apply if they decide to buy any additional residential property, unless it is to be used to replace their existing main residence.

    Similarly for someone who already has a main residence, who wishes to purchase an additional property to let out, the higher SDLT rate will apply.

    Moving House

    Replacing a main residence

    In most cases someone already owning a buy to let property, who wishes to move house, should not be liable for the higher SDLT rate. This is becauase there is no retrospective tax to pay on the existing buy to let property, and the owner plans to replace their main residence.

    Similarly a property investor who already owns multiple buy to let properties should not be liable for the the higher rate of stamp duty if they decide to move. Again this is because the owner plans to replace their main residence and there is no retrospective tax to pay on their existing buy to let portfolio.

    An individual who owns a buy to let property, and who has sold their main residence, will have up to 36 months to buy a new one without paying the higher stamp duty rate. This is because ultimately they will have replaced their main residence at the end of the moving process. The grace period has been increased from the 18 months to 36 months to reflect "moving in difficult circumstances".

    Keeping a former main residence

    For someone who wishes to move house but decides not to sell their existing home at the same time, the higher rate of SDLT will apply. This is because even though they are replacing their main residence with a new one, at the end of the process they will own 2 properties. If the previous property is then sold within 36 months a refund of the higher SDLT rate can be applied for.

    If someone decides to buy a new home as a main residence, but wants to rent out their existing home instead of selling it, they will be liable for the higher SDLT rate. This is because they will own 2 properties at the end of the process.

    For a definition of a "main residence" for stamp duty purposes please refer to our stamp duty for second homes section.

    First Time Buyers

    If someone decides to purchase a buy to let investment as their first property, the higher SDLT rate should not apply. This is because they will only own one property.

    If parents, who are home owners themselves, wish to help their children buy their first home they could now face the higher rate of stamp duty. In this case if the parents take out a joint mortgage with their children they will appear on the deeds. Legally the parents now own a second property. However if the parents simply help with the deposit or act as a guarantor then the higher SDLT rates do not apply.

    Married Couples & Civil Partners

    The higher rate of tax will apply to married couples and civil partners if one person in the relationship already owns a property.

    In this scenario people who are married or in a civil partnership are treated as a single entity for SDLT purposes.

    Married couples living separately, who are separated in circumstances that are likely to be permanent, will not be treated as individuals and not as one entity.

    Unmarried Couples & Joint Purchasers

    The Governement has now confirmed the following position with regards to joint ownership: "The joint purchase of a property that is an additional property transaction for one or more of the joint purchasers is considered to be the purchase of an additional property and thus the higher rates will apply"

    For stamp duty purposes this means joint purchasers will be treated as a single entity, the same as for married couples and civil partners.

    Limited Companies

    The SDLT surcharge will generally apply to additional property being purchased by limited companies. This applies to both existing companies and newly formed companies for the purpose of purchasing additional property.

    Overseas Property

    Property owned abroad will now be taken into account when determining whether a property purchased in England, Wales or Northern Ireland is an additional property.

    This applies to residential property owned anywhere in the world and includes second homes and furnished holiday lets.

    Additional Property Exemptions

    Mobile homes, caravans and houseboats will be exempt and in most cases inherited property and annexes do not count as additional property. Plots of land are also exempt as these are not categorised as "residential property" even if future residential development is planned.

    Please refer to our stamp duty for second homes section for more information.

    Buy to Let Stamp Duty Calculator

    The stamp duty calculators below compare the level of tax before and after the SDLT rate increase for additional freehold residential property purchases. For current calculations please use our instant Stamp Duty Calculator.


    Before April 2016


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    From April 2016


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