s My husband and I are planning to buy a house together but are really confused about the stamp duty we will need to pay.
We are both British but currently live and work abroad, so we are not resident. I understand that we will need to pay a higher rate of stamp duty because of this. We plan to live abroad for at least another four to six years but would like to buy property in the UK now. We plan to rent the house until we return, when the house becomes our family home.
We are at a loss as to whether this means we need to pay an extra 3% to buy homes or second homes. It will be our only property (although my husband previously owned an apartment in the UK, it was sold over a year ago). We do not own property abroad. The house we want to buy will cost £500,000.
a The test of whether you will pay the extra 3% in land stamp tax (SDLT) is not the nature of the property but the number of properties you own at the end of the day of purchase. Therefore, even though the home will be a buy-to-let property, it will be your only property, and therefore this higher rate of SDLT will not apply.
What will drive the SDLT rate up (since 1st April 2021) is the fact that you are not a UK resident. Buyers are not resident in the UK in connection with the transaction if they have not been in the UK for at least six months (183 days) in the 12 months prior to purchasing the property. If you buy residential property in England or Northern Ireland (but not Scotland and Wales), you will usually pay an additional 2% SDLT fee. This is in addition to the £12,500, which will be due on any amount above the £250,000 0% new SDLT threshold. For first-time buyers (who are not), the new minimum is £425,000, provided the property costs no more than £625,000.
There has also been a change in Wales, where the property transaction tax limit has been raised from £180,000 to £225,000 (since October 10, 2022). In Scotland, there has been a change to the “Land and Building Tax Additional Housing Supplement”, which since January 25, 2019 is no longer 3% but 4%.