Stamp Duty Land Tax: appeal against a late filing penalty

When and how to appeal against a Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) penalty and the deadlines for making an appeal.

You don’t pay SDLT if you buy a property in:

Appeal against a late filing penalty

You can appeal against a penalty if you have a reasonable excuse for making your return late.

A reasonable excuse is something unexpected or outside your control that stopped you from meeting the deadline.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will only accept that you had a reasonable excuse for missing the deadline if what happened meant you couldn’t either:

  • file the return yourself
  • arrange for someone to file it for you

What counts as a reasonable excuse

A reasonable excuse could be:

  • you posted your SDLT return in good time but it was lost or delayed in the post (for example, because of floods or industrial action)
  • your adviser was seriously ill and couldn’t control their business or private affairs (for example, they’ve had a heart attack or stroke)
  • your adviser died

You must show that you’ve done everything you can to file your return as soon as possible.

What’s unlikely to be a reasonable excuse

HMRC won’t accept your excuse if what happened didn’t stop you from dealing with all your other affairs.

The following aren’t usually accepted as a reasonable excuse:

  • you found it too difficult to fill in your return
  • pressure of work stopped you dealing with your return
  • your adviser was waiting for you to pay the SDLT, or another firm of advisers was paying it
  • you were waiting for a valuation - you should use your best guess then amend your return when you have it
  • the seller’s adviser caused a delay
  • you were abroad and couldn’t sign your return - if you plan to go abroad you should arrange a power of attorney

How to appeal

You can appeal by letter or fill in form SDLT46, you can use guidance notes to help you.

HMRC reaches agreement and settles most appeals at this stage.

Send your appeal within 30 days of the date of the original penalty notice to:

HM Revenue and Customs
BT - Stamp Duty Land Tax
United Kingdom

If HMRC don’t settle your appeal by agreement

If you can’t settle the appeal you can appeal against a HMRC decision.

Pay your penalty

Pay the penalty even if you’re appealing against it.

If you don’t pay and you lose your appeal you’ll pay interest on the late payment of the penalty. If your appeal succeeds HMRC will repay the penalty with interest.

Published 18 March 2013
Last updated 16 February 2018 + show all updates
  1. The address to send appeals to has been updated.

  2. From 1 April 2018 SDLT will no longer apply in Wales. You'll pay Land Transaction Tax which is dealt with by the Welsh Revenue Authority.

  3. First published.