Rates of Stamp Duty Land Tax for non-UK residents
Check if you have to pay the Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) surcharge from 1 April 2021 for buyers of residential property in England and Northern Ireland who are not resident in the UK.
From 1 April 2021, different rates of Stamp Duty Land Tax will apply to purchasers of residential property in England and Northern Ireland who are not resident in the UK.
The rates are 2 percentage points higher than those that apply to purchases made by UK residents. This surcharge applies to purchases of both freehold and leasehold property, as well as increasing the Stamp Duty Land Tax payable on rents on the grant of a new lease.
The surcharge also applies to certain UK resident companies that are controlled by non-UK residents.
The surcharge does not apply to purchases of non-residential property or mixed transactions unless Multiple Dwellings Relief is claimed.
Subject to certain conditions being met, relief is available. There are also certain circumstances when the surcharge does not apply.
The surcharge does not apply to purchases of land or buildings in Scotland or Wales. More information about Scottish or Welsh transactions is available.
What property the surcharge applies to
The surcharge applies to all ‘non-resident transactions’, even if you intend to live in the property you’re buying, and regardless of whether or not you already own a residential property.
You must pay the surcharge when you buy a major interest in a freehold residential property for £40,000 or more if one or more buyers is non-UK resident in relation to the transaction.
You must pay the surcharge when you buy a major interest in a leasehold residential property if:
- the lease premium is £40,000 or more, or the relevant rent is £1,000 or more
- one or more buyers is non-UK resident in relation to the transaction
- the major interest being acquired is not a lease with 7 years or less to run
A major interest means freehold or leasehold ownership of the property, and includes an undivided share in a major interest in the property.
The garden and grounds of the property, including any buildings or structures, for example a detached garage, are also included, along with any land that exists for the benefit of the property. However, the surcharge does not apply to a transaction in such a building or land without the purchase of the actual residential property.
In certain circumstances, the surcharge also applies to off-plan purchases.
More information can be found in the Stamp Duty Land Tax manual — SDLTM09865.
Who the surcharge applies to
The test used to establish whether a buyer is non-UK resident in relation to the transaction depends on who the buyer is. Nationality, citizenship or residence status under the UK Statutory Residence Test are not relevant for this purpose.
Similarly, ‘right to reside in the UK’ status or any of the UK’s visa policies, including those for British National Overseas passport holders, is not relevant for the purpose of establishing whether a buyer is non-UK resident in relation to the transaction.
The ‘effective date of the transaction’ is the key date used to establish residence status. This is normally the date that the transaction is completed, but will be the date of substantial performance of the contract if this is different. In such cases, the later completion of the contract will also need to be notified to HMRC for Stamp Duty Land Tax purposes, but will only be a non-resident transaction if the substantial performance of the contract was a non-resident transaction.
More information on substantial performance of a contract can be found in the Stamp Duty Land Tax manual.
Stamp Duty Land Tax residence tests
Buyers need to apply these Stamp Duty Land Tax residence tests to establish if they’re a non-UK resident in relation to the transaction.
Buying with someone else
The rules apply to each person, natural and non-natural, who is buying the property. If any of you individually are non-UK resident in relation to the transaction, then all buyers are treated as non-UK resident in relation to the transaction.
Individual buyers are non-UK resident in relation to the transaction if they are not present in the UK for at least 183 days during the 12 months before their purchase.
Although the surcharge only applies to non-resident transactions in England and Northern Ireland, days spent in the whole of the UK count for the purposes of the residence test, not just days spent in England or Northern Ireland. An individual is present in the UK on a particular day if they are situated in the UK at the end of that day.
Tunde lives in Canada. He purchases a freehold residential property in England on 1 June 2025 for £800,000. Between 2 June 2024 and 1 June 2025, Tunde spent 200 days in the UK. He is therefore UK resident in relation to the transaction.
Individual purchasers may be able to claim a refund of the 2% surcharge if they meet residency requirements within a 12-month period after the effective date of transaction.
If you’re married or in a civil partnership
If you’re buying the property together, then as long as you are not separated and neither of you is acting as a trustee of a settlement, if one of you is UK resident in relation to the transaction then you are both treated as UK resident in relation to the transaction.
Elijah and Hayley are married and live together in the USA. They jointly purchase a freehold residential property in Northern Ireland on 1 June 2025 for £950,000. Neither is acting as a trustee of a settlement.
Between 2 June 2024 and 1 June 2025, Elijah spent 183 days in the UK and Hayley spent 100 days.
Elijah is UK resident in relation to the transaction. Therefore, Hayley is also treated as UK resident in relation to the transaction, even though she spent less than 183 days in the UK during the 12 months prior to the purchase.
Corporate buyers are non-UK resident if they are not UK resident for Corporation Tax purposes at the effective date of the transaction.
Special rules apply to UK resident companies which are under the direct or indirect control of non-UK resident persons. Such companies are treated as non-resident in relation to the transaction if the company:
- is a close company
- meets the non-UK control test in relation to the transaction
- is not an excluded company
More information on these special rules, including examples, can be found in the Stamp Duty Land Tax manual —SDLTM09910.
Partners in a business partnership buying a residential property together are treated as joint buyers.
Camille and Joshua are the partners at Rousseau’s LLP. They are neither married nor civil partners to each other. Rousseau’s LLP purchases a freehold residential property in England on 1 June 2025 for £600,000.
Between 2 June 2024 and 1 June 2025, Camille spent 200 days in the UK and Joshua spent 150 days.
As Camille and Joshua are buying the property together as partners in a partnership and Joshua is non-UK resident in relation to the transaction, Camille is also treated as non-UK resident in relation to the transaction.
Trusts are treated as non-UK resident if any trustee is a non-UK resident under the Stamp Duty Land Tax residence tests. This rule does not apply where the trust is either:
- a bare trust
- one in which any beneficiary is entitled to remain in the property for life or entitled to income arising from the purchased property
In such cases, the residence status of the beneficiaries of the trust is used to establish whether the purchase is subject to the surcharge or not.
This however does not alter who is the chargeable person and who is liable to make a Stamp Duty Land Tax return and pay any tax due.
More information on how Stamp Duty Land Tax applies to trusts can be found in the Stamp Duty Land Tax manual.
Freya is a trustee of the Mikaelson family trust (not a bare trust). Kol is one of the beneficiaries of the trust, and has been accepted to Queen’s University in Belfast. Freya uses trust funds to purchase a freehold residential property on 1 August 2023 for £400,000, near the university for Kol to live in during his course.
Under the terms of the settlement neither Kol nor any other beneficiary is entitled to occupy the property for life, or to income earned in respect of the property.
Therefore, Freya’s residence status is used to establish whether she is non-UK resident in relation to the transaction.
Vincent and Josephine are trustees of the Regent trust (a bare trust). Davina is the sole beneficiary of the trust.
Using trust funds, Vincent and Josephine purchase a new 25 year leasehold interest in a residential property in Northern Ireland on 1 May 2027 for £60,000, with a peppercorn rent.
As the purchase is in relation to the grant of a lease by trustees of a bare trust, Davina’s residence status is used to establish whether the transaction is liable to the surcharge.
Settlements under a unit trust scheme are treated differently from other trusts. For Stamp Duty Land Tax purposes, unit trust schemes are treated as if the trustees were a company, and the rights of the unit holders were shares in the company. Where the trustee of a unit trust scheme is the buyer, the residence status of the trustees is used to determine whether the purchase is a non-resident transaction.
Co-ownership authorised contractual schemes (CoACS)
A CoACS is a form of collective investment scheme. For Stamp Duty Land Tax purposes, a CoACS is treated as a company, and the rights of investors are shares in the company.
With one exception, a CoACS is UK resident for the purposes of the surcharge.
The exception to this rule is where a collective investment scheme is treated as a CoACS because it is an EEA equivalent scheme. Such CoACS are non-UK resident for the purposes of the 2% surcharge.
More information on CoACS can be found in the Investment Funds manual.
Alternative property finance
If the buyer is a financial institution and the transaction is part of an alternative property finance scheme, then the residence status of the financial institution is determined by applying the appropriate Stamp Duty Land Tax residence test to the person taking out the finance.
More information can be found in Stamp Duty Land Tax manual — SDLTM09950.
The rates of Stamp Duty Land Tax which apply to non-resident transactions
If a transaction is identified as a ‘non-resident transaction’, the 2% surcharge applies on top of all other residential rates of Stamp Duty Land Tax, including:
- zero rates
- rates which apply to:
- first-time buyers
- purchasers of additional dwellings
- purchases made by companies
- purchases when the consideration exceeds the higher rate threshold
Fifi purchases a freehold residential property in England on 26 October 2022 for £700,000. Fifi does not already own another property, so the higher rates on additional dwellings do not apply to her.
Fifi is a first-time buyer, but as the consideration for the property is more than £625,000, First Time Buyers’ Relief does not apply to her.
Between 27 October 2021 and 26 October 2022, Fifi spent 77 days in the UK. She is therefore non-UK resident in relation to the transaction.
Her Stamp Duty Land Tax liability is worked out as follows:
- 2% up to £250,000 = £5,000
- 7% of £250,001 to £700,000 = £31,500
Fifi’s total Stamp Duty Land Tax liability is £36,500.
If Fifi spends time in the UK in the 12 months following 26 October 2022, she may be eligible for a refund of the surcharge.
When the surcharge does not apply
The surcharge does not apply to certain purchasers, property and transactions.
The surcharge does not apply to a UK resident close company that is either a:
- Property Authorised Investment Fund (PAIF)
- body corporate that is a 51% subsidiary of a PAIF
- UK Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT)
- company that is a member of a group UK REIT
The surcharge does not apply to purchases of property, or part of a property, if the property is either a:
- non-residential property
- mixture of residential and non-residential, for example, a shop with a flat above it, unless a claim to Multiple Dwellings Relief is made
The surcharge also does not apply to property you lease if your lease is for 7 years or less, on the date it was granted.
The surcharge does not apply to transactions where a contract has either been:
- entered into and substantially performed before 1 April 2021
- exchanged before 11 March 2020, unless the contract relates to excluded transactions
Information on excluded transactions can be found in the Stamp Duty Land Tax manual — SDLTM09855.
Reliefs you may qualify for
Crown employment relief
Special rules apply if the buyer is an individual in Crown employment.
Crown employment is considered to be employment under the Crown which is of a public nature, and where earnings are payable out of the public revenue of the UK or Northern Ireland. Examples of such employment include civil servants, members of the armed forces and diplomats.
For the purposes of the residence tests, an individual is treated as present in the UK at the end of a day if, at that time, they are in Crown employment and are present in a country or territory outside the UK for the purposes of that employment. This rule is also individually extended to the spouse or civil partner of a Crown servant, provided they are not separated at the end of that day.
Crown employment relief only applies where a claim to the relief is made in an Stamp Duty Land Tax return or an amendment to the return.
You may qualify for other reliefs that reduce the amount of Stamp Duty Land Tax you have to pay, for example Multiple Dwellings Relief.
What you need to do
Send your return
Your Stamp Duty Land Tax return must be sent to HMRC within 14 days of the effective date of the transaction.
Pay your bill
You can pay your Stamp Duty Land Tax bill as soon as your Stamp Duty Land Tax return has been sent to HMRC.
When and how to get a refund
Individual buyers are able to claim a refund of the 2% surcharge if, after the purchase, they are present in the UK for at least 183 days during any continuous 365-day period that falls within the 2 year period:
- beginning 364 days before the effective date of the transaction
- ending 365 days after the effective date of the transaction
If the transaction has more than one buyer, refunds are only possible if all the buyers are individuals and satisfy this residence rule, although the continuous 365-day period can be different for each buyer. This includes the rules relating to spouses and civil partners.
The refund is claimed by amending the Stamp Duty Land Tax return to take account of the fact that the transaction is ultimately not liable to the surcharge. This can be done within 2 years after the effective date of the transaction once the residence rule is satisfied.
In the previous example, Fifi purchased a freehold residential property in England on 26 October 2022 and paid the non-UK resident Stamp Duty Land Tax surcharge on the transaction.
In the 12 months prior to the transaction, Fifi spent 77 days in the UK. This was all during the period 1 July to 26 October 2022. She was therefore non-UK resident in relation to the transaction and paid the surcharge on her purchase.
However, between 27 October 2022 and 30 June 2023, Fifi spent a further 106 days in the UK. She is therefore entitled to a refund of the 2% surcharge.
Fifi has until 26 October 2024 to amend the Stamp Duty Land Tax return to notify HMRC that the transaction is not liable to the surcharge and apply for a refund of the 2% surcharge paid.
Record keeping and evidence of presence in the UK
The vast majority of customers required to make a Stamp Duty Land Tax return will have taken advice from professional advisers such as solicitors and conveyancers on their legal responsibilities when buying a property. Part of this may include knowing whether and to what extent they were present in the UK before their purchase and the impact this might have on their liability to the non-resident surcharge.
HMRC understands that although customers will or are likely to have access to details of their home purchase such as contracts, completion statements or mortgage documents, some are less likely to have records of their whereabouts on a particular day. This will be the case especially if their purchase was made at short notice.
The vast majority of customers will know whether and to what extent they were present in the UK before their purchase. Where HMRC require records to confirm a customer’s presence in the UK for Stamp Duty Land Tax purposes, we may ask customers to provide us with some of the following information:
- credit card and bank statements which indicate place of the purchaser’s day by day expenditure
- work diaries or planners, including timesheets or rosters
- mobile phone usage and bills pointing to the individual’s presence in a country
- general overheads, for example, utility bills which may demonstrate that the individual has been present in the UK, for example, telephone bills or energy bills
- membership and usage of clubs, for example, sports, health or social clubs
This list is not definitive and HMRC will consider the weight and quality of all the evidence provided. We will however take a pragmatic approach where possible taking into account each customer’s circumstances.
More detailed information on the rates for non-resident transactions can be found in the Stamp Duty Land Tax Manual — SDLTM09850.
Last updated 23 September 2022 + show all updates
The rates of Stamp Duty Land Tax which apply to non-resident transactions have been updated to align with the the Stamp Duty Land Tax nil-rate band threshold for residential purchases which changed on 23 September 2022.
Link to Apply for a repayment of the non-UK Resident Stamp Duty Land Tax surcharge added under 'When and how to get a refund' section.