Shorter Stamp Duty Land Tax return submission deadline from 1 March

From 1 March 2019, the time limit to file a Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) return and pay the tax due to HMRC is being significantly decreased to 14 days, where previously it was 30 days. The 14 days will include weekends and bank holidays so will in practice require a very prompt turnaround.

When SDLT must be paid

SDLT must be paid by buyers and tenants of property when they acquire an interest in land over a certain value. The clock starts running from the date that a contract is “substantially performed”. This is usually the date of completion, but can be earlier if a tenant or buyer has taken early occupation of the property, for example to carry out fit works.

Penalties for missing the deadline

There will be a fixed penalty of £100 for missing the 14 day deadline, increasing to £200 if the return is more than three months late.

Practical implications

The SDLT return is currently often prepared and sent to the buyer/tenant for approval and payment of funds following completion of a commercial transaction. However, this change means that buyers/tenants should expect to be asked for their input on and authorisation of this process by their solicitors well in advance of completion. If the transaction is complex, specialist advice will need to be sought early on.

Fenella Eddell is a solicitor in the property department at Barker Gotelee, Suffolk solicitors.

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