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COVID-19: Impact on SDLT & its’ 3-Year Time Limit

Given the news recently, and Rishi Sunak’s summer budget, everyone we speak to knows that there is something going on with Stamp Duty. Our article deals with the threshold updates.    For the record, this is not the sort of exciting topic that we usually talk about socially, before you decide that we are unbearably tedious and move to another page.

Stamp Duty Land Tax, abbreviated to SDLT, is the tax paid when buying a freehold, leasehold, or shared ownership residential property at a price over £500,000 since the Chancellor introduced the new rates in early July 2020 and they will continue to apply until the end of March 2021.   Remember though, you will still pay the 3% uplift if you are buying a second property or an investment property.

If you are buying a new home, before you sell the old one, you will pay the surcharge.  If you subsequently come to sell your old home, then it seems unreasonable that you should not be able to seek a refund on the overpayment.

Luckily, HMRC takes this into account. There is currently a 3-year time limit to sell a previous main residence after purchasing a new property. This limit allowed sufficient time for those facing a wide variety of personal circumstances such as bereavement, illness or even a delay in building works to complete the sale of their previous home and apply for the refund.

Due to the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, HMRC recognise that you may have been unable to sell your property within the 3-year time limit. COVID-19 is an exceptional circumstance that HMRC will now take into consideration for your eligibility to apply for a refund, only if you purchased your new main residence on or after 1 January 2017, and you have been unable to sell your previous main residence before the expiry of the 3-year time limit.

This is great news that will allow those individuals who have struggled to sell their property because of the pandemic, to successfully obtain a refund on the overpaid SDLT on their purchase.

Please note that HMRC will only consider your refund application once you have sold your previous main residence.   You should make sure that you make your application for a refund promptly, following the sale of the previous house.

You can apply for a refund here:


If you have any questions about SDLT or have any other conveyancing enquiry, give us a call on 01937 326006

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