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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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    January 2021: Covid-19 arrangements

    Wards Solicitors remains open for business during the national lockdown and we are taking on new cases.  We are available for video call and telephone meetings but cannot currently offer face to face meetings with clients except in some specific emergency situations and at court hearings.

    If you have documents for us, including for ID certification, please deliver them to our letterbox at the office handling your case.

    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, Mondays to Fridays.
    • Alternatively, email info@wards.uk.com at any time and we will respond to you as soon as possible.

    A list of our 12 branches is available here. Our telephones lines are operating as normal behind closed doors.

    Important Warning: Cyber-crime is very common including email interception. We will never tell you of changes to our bank details by email.  Please be aware that we accept no responsibility if you transfer money to a bank account which is not ours. If you receive an email giving our bank account details, please telephone us immediately without replying to the email or sending money.