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Buying property in England comes with all sorts of expenses beyond the seller’s asking price. Along with conveyancing costs, you’ll also have to pay for Stamp Duty Land Tax or SDLT, which is a lump-sum tax you’ll need to pay if you purchase a property or land over a specific price.

In response to the pandemic, the government announced a temporary stamp duty holiday effective 8 July 2020. The holiday was announced to make homes more affordable for people who experienced financial hardship due to the resulting lockdowns. However, with vaccine distribution allowing businesses to reopen and resume pre-COVID ways of living, the holiday will last only until 30 June 2021.

Here’s what you need to know about stamp duty:

The Stamp Duty Holiday

The government’s stamp duty holiday applies to all property sales that complete between 8 July 2020 to 30 June 2021. Unless they extend the holiday period, the 0 per cent stamp duty threshold will drop from £500,000 to £250,000 until 30 September 2021. The holiday will increase the stamp duty threshold from £125,000 to £500,000. Buyers who purchase a property at this amount or less will exempt them from paying stamp duty, helping them save money during financially challenging times.

However, if the property they purchase is valued at more than £500,000, then they’ll have to pay stamp duty on the value over that amount. For instance, if the property costs £500,001 to £925,000, then they must pay a 5 per cent SDLT. If their property costs £925,001 to £1.5 million, they must pay 10 per cent stamp duty. If the property is above £1.5 million, they must pay 12 per cent during the holiday period. The threshold applies to landlords and second home buyers, but they are still required to pay the 3 per cent stamp duty premium.

Buyers can save up to £15,000 if they purchase a property worth £500,000 or more. Here is a table that details the savings you can expect within the stamp duty holiday:


Property value

Old stamp duty cost

Holiday stamp duty cost

Amount saved






































Buyers in the Middle of Purchasing a Property

If you have started buying a house, you may be wondering if you can benefit from the stamp duty holiday. If you haven’t completed the home buying process yet, then you can still take advantage of the holiday, as you are required to pay stamp duty only when your purchase completes. If the transaction is complete before 30 June 2021, you’ll pay the reduced stamp duty rate.

If you’re a first-time homebuyer, then you’re typically eligible for a stamp duty discount, paying tax for properties over £300,000. However, the stamp duty holiday swaps this discount, allowing first-time buyers to benefit from the same £500,000 threshold as other buyers.

Who Is Required to Pay Stamp Duty Land Tax?

Anyone who purchases a property or land must declare the circumstances surrounding the transaction to Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC). If you buy a freehold property, a new or existing leasehold, purchase a property through a shared ownership setup, or have transferred land or property to you in exchange for payment, you must pay SDLT.

However, some circumstances exempt you from paying SDLT. If there is no payment involved in a land or property transfer, you inherited the property under a Will, or the property was transferred due to divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership, you don’t have to pay.

The exemption also applies to:

  • Freehold properties bought for less than £40,000

  • First-time homebuyers buying a property worth £300,000 or less

  • The purchase or assignment of a lease seven years or older as long as the premium is less than £40,000 and the annual rent costs less than £1,000

  • The purchase or assignment of a lease less than seven years as long as the amount paid by the buyer is less than the residential or non-residential SDLT limit

How Much Is the SDLT Rate Outside the Holiday?

The amount buyers must pay is dependent on the property’s value. Buyers do not have to pay SDLT if the property is valued at £125,000 or less. However, once the cost exceeds this amount, they must pay the rate accordingly:


Property/Lease Premium Or Transfer Value


Up to £125,000


The next £125,000 (from £125,001 to £250,000)


The next £675,000 (from £250,001 to £925,000)


The next £575,000 (from £925,001 to £1.5 million)


The remaining amount (above £1.5 million)



For instance, if you buy a property for £200,000, you won’t be taxed for the first £125,000. However, you’ll be taxed 2 per cent for the remaining £75,000. If this is your first time purchasing a home, then you won’t have to pay SDLT on this particular property. To process your SDLT payment, you’ll need to pay the tax within 14 days of purchasing the property and send your SDLT return to HMRC. However, there are some cases in which you don’t have to send an SDLT return, which conveyancing solicitors in London can assist you with if you believe you qualify.


Stamp duties are an expense that homebuyers need to prepare for, especially given the upcoming changes due to the holiday’s end period. By following our guide, you can account for the expense and arrange the payment for the SDLT to ensure a smooth transaction.

If you’re looking for the cheapest conveyancing solicitors to help you with your home purchase, let us know at Conveyancing Calculator! We offer instant online residential conveyancing quotations directly from a UK-regulated SRA property solicitor or CLC licensed conveyancer. Contact us today at 0330 043 1202 for conveyancing advice!


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