Buyers will now have just 14 days in which to notify HMRC of a purchase and pay the tax.

The length of time buyers have in which to pay stamp duty has been halved as part of a government push to make collection of the tax more efficient. 

From today, purchasers in England and Northern Ireland will have only 14 days in which to file a Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) return and pay the tax, down from 30 days previously. 

The Government said most purchasers would not be impacted by the change, as the majority of returns were already filed within 14 days of a transaction completing, with many filed within a week. 

Why is this happening?

The move is being introduced as part of a push by HM Revenue and Customers to make the collection of the tax more efficient.

It has also changed the SDLT return form to make compliance easier, while it is currently consulting on making it mandatory for the return to be filed online and payments to be made electronically. 

Stamp duty on homes

Who does it affect?

The move only affects buyers in England and Northern Ireland. 

Scotland and Wales both have their own systems for taxes relating to the purchase of property, which will not be impacted by this change. 

First-time buyers, who are exempt from stamp duty on the purchase of a property costing up to £300,000, will still have to file a return within the new 14-day limit, even if they are not liable for the tax. 

It is worth noting, however, that the majority of purchasers do not file the SDLT return themselves, rather it is something the solicitor handling their conveyancing does on their behalf. 

HMRC estimates that only around 500 people each year file their own return without using an agent. 

The change will impact around 20,000 businesses that are licensed conveyancers and solicitors. 

What’s the background?

The Government first announced plans to introduce the change in the Autumn Statement in 2015, with a view to introducing the measure during the 2017/2018 tax year. 

But it announced that the introduction would be delayed until this year in the 2017 Budget in order to give HMRC time to address issues that had been raised during consultation.

These included concerns that the new deadline would be too tight for complex transactions, such as those involving leases, due to the additional information that had to be submitted. 

To overcome these concerns, HMRC has said information relating to leases can be filed at a later stage to the SDLT return. 

Top 3 takeways

  • The amount of time in which buyers have to pay stamp duty has been halved

  • Purchasers in England and Northern Ireland now have only 14 days in which to file a Stamp Duty Land Tax return and pay the tax

  • The change has been introduced in a bid to improve the efficiency of the Stamp Duty Land Tax system

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