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What is Stamp Duty and when is it charged?

Stamp duty is a tax payable on transactions involving land. This is the common name for what is now Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) in England and Land Transaction Tax in Wales. The two taxes are broadly similar although rates differ. This page will refer to the position in England only unless otherwise stated.

It is termed ‘stamp duty’ as originally a stamp would be impressed on the deed to show the amount of tax that had been paid.   Now the tax is payable on the ‘transaction’, and is charged to the whole of the money paid for the land or property concerned, whether this is evidenced in a deed or not.

This tax regime has become extremely complex with different regimes for England and Wales, different rates for residential and non-residential property, for individuals and companies, plus a surcharge or higher rate payable on the purchase of second or additional properties. There are various reliefs including First Time Buyer Relief, Multiple Dwellings  Relief, and the ‘main residence exemption’ which applies to the surcharge. Special rules also apply to ‘linked’ transactions and where there are ‘connected’ parties, amongst others.

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UPDATE October 2020

We have now re-opened our branches to clients but all appointments and visits must be pre-booked to comply with government guidance.

Availability for face-to- face meetings in branches will be limited and remote contact with teams – via phone, email or video call – is preferred wherever possible.  Our prime concern remains the safety of our clients and our staff.

Please note that all visitors to our offices must, by law, wear a face covering.

We cannot accept drop-in visits from clients without an appointment being made in advance. If you have documents for us, including for ID certification, please deliver them to our letterbox

How to get in touch:

  • Please email or telephone your usual lawyer or team, or
  • Please telephone the branch most convenient to you between 9am and 5:30pm, or email info@wards.uk.com at any time and we will respond to you as soon as possible.

We look forward to hearing from you.  A list of our 11 branches is available here.

Thank you.

Wards Solicitors LLP