Stamp Duty is a big part of buying a home. In this guide, we’ll explain Stamp Duty and help you understand how it works.

You have to digest a lot of information when you buy a property and Stamp Duty is one of the single biggest costs you’ll face. The amount will vary depending on your circumstances, but we’ll show you how to figure that out.

What Is Stamp Duty Tax?

This guide has been produced for information purposes only. As a mortgage broker, we're not able to offer tax advice.

Stamp Duty is a UK property tax you pay when you purchase a property or a piece of land. Otherwise known as Stamp Duty Land Tax or SDLT, it applies to people buying properties over a certain price in England and Northern Ireland - Scotland and Wales have slightly different schemes but the principles remain the same. The amount you pay depends on the purpose and value of the property you want to purchase, as well as the type of buyer you are - e.g. first-time buyer, previous homeowner, landlord, etc.

There are a few misconceptions surrounding Stamp Duty, but that’s just because not everyone knows that much about it - especially those who haven’t really dealt with the property market before, or for many years.

It’s important to dispel these misconceptions from the offset.

So, if you’re new to this, remember:

  • The buyer of a property, not the seller, pays Stamp Duty. You never pay Stamp Duty when you sell. You may however have to pay Capital Gains Tax when you sell a property that's not your main residence
  • You can't deduct Stamp Duty from Income Tax, even on buy-to-let properties. However, you can deduct it from your taxable gains to reduce the Capital Gains Tax you pay when you sell a property
  • Stamp Duty exemption areas don’t exist. Whether you qualify for an exemption depends on your situation and your property value
  • You don’t pay VAT on Stamp Duty - it’s a tax in itself. Also you don't pay VAT on the purchase of a property

When and How Do You Pay Stamp Duty?

You pay Stamp Duty Land Tax when you purchase land or property. HMRC need to receive payment of Stamp Duty within 30 days of completion. To pay, you simply fill out an SDLT return and send it to HMRC. Your solicitor normally handles this for you at the same time they manage the transaction and submits the money to HMRC after completion.

Why Do You Pay Stamp Duty?

Buying a property is expensive enough, so it’s disheartening when additional costs like Stamp Duty start to pile on. Learning what Stamp Duty is for won’t reduce the cost, but at least you’ll understand why you have to pay it.

The original reason we used to pay Stamp Duty was to cover the cost of the legal documents required when you purchase a property. The name comes from the physical "stamp" of approval that the Government used to impress upon your paperwork. Most documents are digital now and don’t require an actual stamp, but you still pay Stamp Duty.

Nowadays, Stamp Duty is normally more than is needed to cover the costs of the documents – the Government mainly use SDLT as a means of gathering revenue, rather than simply processing paperwork.

An example of a document you need is a Certificate of Land Ownership, which officially transfers the ownership from the previous occupier to you. HMRC will only issue this to you upon the receipt of Stamp Duty.

Let us know the value of the residential property you’re buying, if you’re a first time-buyer or if it’s a second home, then press Calculate.

Once you know how much Stamp Duty you’ll be paying, speak to our experts and we’ll help you compare 1000s of mortgage deals from across the market to assess what your next steps are. If you're a landlord and are buying a buy-to-let property, use our buy-to-let Stamp Duty calculator.

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Who Pays Stamp Duty?

Almost everyone who purchases a property above a certain value pays Stamp Duty. There are certain exceptions, but whether you qualify depends on what kind of buyer you are.

You pay normal Stamp Duty when:

  • You purchase a main or second residential property, buy-to-let or piece of land worth over £250,000
  • You purchase a new main residence to replace your previous one - this doesn’t include remortgaging
  • You previously owned a property, but sold it and now rent or live with friends or family, and are buying another property
  • You marry and then buy a property with your partner – even if one of you is a first-time buyer
  • You buy a shared ownership property
  • You’re a first-time buyer and you purchase a property valued over £300,000
  • You purchase a non-residential property above £150,000
  • You buy mixed-use land or property above £150,000
  • You are being added to a mortgage/title deeds – this is considered as "buying" a share of property or land

You also pay a Stamp Duty surcharge - otherwise known as Additional Stamp Duty - when:

  • You purchase a second residence
  • You’re a private landlord and you purchase a buy-to-let
  • You purchase a buy-to-let through a limited company

You won't pay any Stamp Duty at all if you're a previous or current homeowner and you purchase a main residential property for up to £250,000 and you complete on or before 30/09/21.

You won't pay any Stamp Duty at all if you're a first-time buyer and you purchase a main residential property for up to £300,000 and you complete on or before 30/09/21.

You won't pay any Stamp Duty at the standard rates if you purchase a second residential property or buy-to-let for up to £250,000 on or before 30/09/21, but you will pay the Stamp Duty surcharge. 

Exemptions and Relief

You’re exempt from Stamp Duty if:

  • You receive land or property ownership in exchange for any payment or other consideration as stipulated by HMRC - e.g. through divorce
  • A property is left to you in a will - instead of paying Stamp Duty on inherited property, you pay Inheritance Tax

There are Stamp Duty relief options for:

  • People purchasing multiple dwellings where a transaction, or several linked transactions, include freehold or leasehold interests in more than one dwelling
  • Situations where a building company buys an individual’s home and the individual buys a home from the building company
  • Employers that purchase an employee’s home because they’re moving with their work
  • Compulsory purchases - e.g. a council purchases a property to sell it on to a property developer
  • Instances where a property developer is subject to planning obligations
  • There is a transfer of property between companies
  • Charities that purchase land and property for charitable purposes
  • Right to buy properties where a residence is sold at a discount by a public-sector body or there’s a preserved right to buy - the Stamp Duty on right to buy properties is worked out on the discounted price the buyer pays
  • Certain situations in which registered social landlords buy land or property

Stamp Duty Rates Explained

The amount of Stamp Duty you’ll pay depends on the value and purpose of the property you want to buy.

If you’re buying a main residence and you’re a previous/current homeowner:

You’ll pay Stamp Duty at the standard rates. This includes people who've previously owned a main residence anywhere in the world but don’t anymore and people replacing their current residence with a new one.

Property Value SDLT Rate 01/07/2020 - 30/09/2021
Up to £250,000 0%
£250,001 - £925,000 5%
£925,001 - £1,500,000 10%
From £1,500,001 12%


You’re purchasing a new home for £700,000. The maximum rate of Stamp Duty you’ll pay is 5%, but you don’t pay 5% on the total value of £700,000. You pay different portions of the whole value at their corresponding rates:

You’ll pay:

  • 0% on the first £250,000 of the £700,000 = £0
  • 5% on the final £450,000 of the £700,000 (the remaining portion from £250,001) = £22,500
  • Total SDLT = £22,500

If you’re buying a main residence and you’re a first-time buyer:

You pay Stamp Duty at the normal rates but you don't pay any Stamp Duty on the first £300,000 of the purchase price.

Property Value SDLT Rate 01/07/2020 - 30/09/2021
Up to £300,000 0%
£300,001 - £500,000 5%


You’re buying your first home for £500,000. The maximum rate of Stamp Duty you’ll pay is 5%; it’s also the only Stamp Duty you’ll pay.

You pay:

  • 0% on the first £300,000 of the £500,000 = £0
  • 5% on the remaining £200,000 of the £500,000 = £10,000
  • Total SDLT = £10,000

If you purchase a property priced at over £500,000 you'll follow the same rules as previous/current homeowners.

If you’re buying a second residence or a buy-to-let:

You’ll pay a 3% Stamp Duty surcharge called Additional Stamp Duty on top of the standard Stamp Duty rate. You can find more information in our guide: Stamp Duty on Second Homes.

If you’re a buying a non-residential property or mixed-use land:

You pay Stamp Duty on any property above £150,000.

Property Value SDLT Rate for Non-Residential and Mixed-Use Land 08/07/2020 - 30/09/2021
Up to £150,000 0%
£150,001 - £250,000 2%
From £250,001 5%

Non-residential property includes:

  • Commercial property - e.g. shops, offices, etc.
  • Forests
  • Agricultural land
  • Any land or property that isn’t a residence
  • 6 or more residential property bought as part of a single transaction

A mixed-use property is one with both residential and non-residential elements - e.g. a flat above a restaurant.


You’re buying commercial property for £300,000. The maximum rate of Stamp Duty you’ll pay is 5% but this is only for the portion of your property value over £250,000 - i.e. £50,000. You pay some Stamp Duty at 2% and some at 5%.

You’ll pay:

  • 0% on the first £150,000 of the £300,000 = £0
  • 2% on the next £100,000 of the £300,000 (the portion from £150,001 - £250,000) = £2,000
  • 5% on the final £50,000 of the £300,000 (the portion from £250,001) = £2,500
  • Total SDLT = £4,500

Do You Pay Stamp Duty on Shared Ownership Properties?

You still pay Stamp Duty on shared ownership properties even though you only buy a portion. In fact, you pay Stamp Duty on the total value of the home, unless you’re a first-time buyer.


You’re buying a 50% share in a property with a market value of £160,000 for £80,000. You have to pay Stamp Duty on the full £160,000, not your £80,000 share.

You’ll pay:

  • 0% on the first £500,000 = £0
  • Total SDLT = £0

Do You Pay Stamp Duty on New Build Properties?

You pay Stamp Duty on new builds like you would on any other residential property, but a lot of people think you don’t. There’s no exemption criteria specifically relating to new build properties.

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Can You Avoid Paying Stamp Duty?

Looking for tips on how to avoid Stamp Duty isn’t advisable. It’s a tax you simply have to pay. You may be lucky enough to qualify for certain exemptions. If you’re not, remember that Stamp Duty avoidance schemes aren’t the same thing. They’re also often unreliable. If they’re indeed deemed against HMRC rules, then you’re likely to have to pay the Stamp Duty anyway – plus any penalties or charges incurred.

It’s our duty as a mortgage broker to protect our clients, which is why we advise you to speak with a qualified accountant about tax.

Claiming a Stamp Duty Refund

Who’s Eligible?

You can only reclaim Stamp Duty if you’re eligible for a refund.

You may be able to claim a Stamp Duty refund if you purchased a new main residence without selling your previous residence, but then sold that previous residence within 3 years. Find out more in our guide: Stamp Duty on Second Homes.

How Do You Reclaim Stamp Duty?

To claim back Stamp Duty, you need to complete an SDLT return and send it to HMRC either online or by post. You can hire a solicitor or legal conveyancer to carry out the return for you, but it’s your responsibility to organise.


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