HMRC have published updated information on exceptional circumstance in their guidance on higher rates of Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT).

The higher rates of SDLT apply when purchasing a residential property if all of the following apply

  • It is not the only residential property owned (or part owned) by the buyer anywhere in the world;
  • The buyer has not sold or given away their previous main home; and
  • No one else has a lease on it which has more than 21 years left to run.

These rules not only apply to the buyer, but to anyone they are married to or buying with.

This also includes any residential property that

  • Is owned on behalf of children under the age of 18; and
  • The buyer has an interest in as the beneficiary of a trust.

Guidance about exceptional circumstances updated

If the buyer sells or gives away their previous main home within three years of buying their new home, they can apply for a refund of the higher SDLT rate part of their Stamp Duty bill.

The Government have recently updated the detail of the exceptional circumstances that enable the buyer to apply for a refund even if they purchased their new home on or after 1 January 2017 and were unable to sell their previous home within three years.

To enable the refund, the delay in selling must be because of exceptional circumstances. These may be, but are not limited to

  • The impact of government imposed restrictions preventing the sale;
  • An action taken by a public authority preventing the sale.

Once the reason has ended, the buyer must sell the previous home to be able to apply for the refund.

The higher rates of SDLT, based on purchase price, can be found below.

For more details about higher rates of SDLT click here.

Higher rates up to 30 June 2021

  • Up to £500,000: 3%
  • Over £500,000 – £925,000: 8%
  • Over £925,000 – £1.5million: 13%
  • Over £1.5million: 15%

Higher rates from 1 July – 30 September 2021

  • Up to £250,000: 3%
  • Over £250,000-£925,000: 8%
  • Over £925,000-£1.5million: 13%
  • Over £1.5million: 15%

Higher rates from 1 October 2021

  • Up to £125,000: 3%
  • Over £125,000-£250,000: 5%
  • Over £250,000-£925,000: 8%
  • Over £925,000-£1.5million: 13%
  • Over £1.5million: 15%