Stamp Duty Land Tax online and paper returns

Find out about sending a Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) return, penalties for late filing and how to amend a return.

You must tell HMRC about most UK land and property transactions on a SDLT return. This must be within 14 days of the ‘effective date’ of the transaction, even if you do not owe any tax.

The effective date is usually the date the transfer is completed, but it can be the date the contract is ‘substantially performed’ if this is before completion. ‘Substantial performance’ is when one of the following happens:

  • most of the buying price is paid - normally 90% and payment can be in cash or something else of economic value
  • the buyer is entitled to possession of the property
  • the first payment of rent is made

The payment deadline is the same as the return. You can pay any SDLT as soon as the return is submitted.

You do not pay SDLT if you buy a property in:

Who must send a return

It’s your responsibility to tell HMRC and pay any SDLT you owe, however most people use a solicitor or legal conveyancer to act on their behalf.

Solicitors or legal conveyancers can submit your return online and pay any tax due once we:

  • have their authority on record
  • know the effective date of the transaction

If you’re not represented by a solicitor or legal conveyancer you must use the SDLT1 paper return.

Some land and property transactions do not need a SDLT return, including:

  • transactions where no money or other payment changed hands
  • property left to you in a will
  • property transferred because of divorce or civil partnership dissolution

Sending an online return to HMRC

If you’re a solicitor or legal conveyancer sign in to your online account to send a SDLT return to HMRC.

You’ll need the Government Gateway user ID and password you used when you registered for Stamp Taxes Online or when you set up your online account.

After you submit the return, you’ll get an online SDLT5 certificate and a Unique Transaction Reference number (UTRN), which you should print and send to the Land Registry with the application for registration.

You can use HMRC’s Stamp Taxes Online free service, or there’s a range of commercial software providers to choose from.

If you use the HMRC Stamp Taxes Online service, you must fill in and file the SDLT return electronically. HMRC reject returns that are filled in electronically but printed and posted, or printed and filled in by hand.

Online transactions that need extra forms

The electronic SDLT5 certificate shows details of the first property address for any transaction.

If there are multiple addresses, or more than one seller or buyer, access the ‘View, print and store’ section of the online SDLT return and print a PDF version of forms:

  • SDLT2
  • SDLT3
  • SDLT4

Send these to the Land Registry with a copy of the electronic SDLT5.

Save a copy of the return and the certificate and keep a record of the UTRN for every transaction.

If the transaction has a large number of properties or there are multiple sellers or buyers, you can still file the return online.

You can enter up to 99 entries (any combination of buyers, sellers or properties). When the system tells you that you cannot add any more, give the additional details on a separate schedule for each additional property, seller or buyer and include the UTRN.

Send your schedule to the Stamp Duty Land Tax Office.

How to send paper returns to HMRC

If you need to send HMRC a paper SDLT1 return and your transaction is straightforward, such as a simple residential conveyance, use the SDLT1.

Order the SDLT1 online or by phone.

Send the completed SDLT1 to HMRC together with payment of any SDLT due on the transaction. Do not include any other correspondence with the SDLT1 return as it may delay us sending you the SDLT5 certificate.

Each SDLT1 form and payslip has its own UTRN printed on it, so you can only use it for that transaction.

You cannot use photocopies of the SDLT1 return for different transactions.

Use the SDLT1 guidance notes to help you fill in the paper return and forms.

You must include a valid local authority code or HMRC will reject your return.

Allow at least 3 working days for your return to reach HMRC.

Send the SDLT1 return and any tax due to HMRC within 14 days of the effective date of the transaction, to:

BT Stamp Duty Land Tax
HM Revenue and Customs

Only use this address to submit your SDLT1.

If there are multiple addresses or more than one seller or buyer your paper transaction may need extra forms.

Paper transactions that need extra forms

You may have to fill in extra forms as well as the SDLT1 return.

SDLT2 - more than 2 buyers or sellers

Use the SDLT2 form if there are more than 2 buyers or sellers.

If the number of additional sellers or buyers combined is more than 99, complete a separate schedule for the rest.

The schedule should include all the details asked for on form SDLT2.

SDLT3 - transaction involves more than one property

Use the SDLT3 form when the transaction involves more than one property. Fill in form SDLT1 and SDLT3 for each additional property.

If there are more than 100 properties, complete a separate schedule for the rest.

The schedule should include all the details asked for on form SDLT3.

SDLT4 - complicated leases, commercial transactions and some residential situations

Use the SDLT4 form for complicated leases, commercial transactions and some residential situations, as well as form SDLT1, if any of the following apply:

  • the land or property transaction is part of a business sale agreement
  • the buyer is a company
  • you’ve asked HMRC for advice on how the law applies to the transaction, using Clearances and Approvals 1 (CAP1), or another route
  • any part of the consideration is dependent or uncertain
  • arrangements have been made with HMRC under the deferment provisions
  • there are mineral rights reserved

You may need to fill in this form if the transaction:

  • is the grant of a new lease or exchange of missives of let
  • relates to the grant of multiple leases

Fill in an extra form for each lease. If the transaction involves more than 100 properties, complete a separate schedule for the rest of the properties.

The schedule must include all the details asked for on form SDLT4 and SDLT4 guidance notes.

If your submitted return is correct and complete, HMRC will send you a SDLT5 certificate. Send it to the Land Registry with your application for registration.

Order forms SDLT2, SDLT3 and SDLT4 online or by phone.

Mistakes in your paper returns

HMRC will check your paper SDLT1 return. If anything is missing, wrong or unclear, we will send you form SDLT8 asking for the correct or missing information.

HMRC will not send you the SDLT5 certificate until we receive this information.

Pay your SDLT

Pay SDLT using the reference number shown on your payslip.

The UTRN for the transaction is in the ‘reference’ box on the payslip. You’ll need it:

  • to pay your SDLT
  • so HMRC can trace your SDLT return and payment if you have a query

Penalties if you file or pay late

You’ll pay an automatic fixed penalty if you do not file your return by the filing date. The amount of the penalty depends on how late you file your return.

You’ll pay a fixed penalty of:

  • £100 if you file your return up to 3 months after the filing date
  • £200 if you file your return more than 3 months after the filing date

You’ll pay a tax-based penalty as well as the fixed penalty if you do not file your return within 12 months after the filing date. The tax-based penalty can be up to the full amount of the tax due on the return.

Appeal against a penalty

You can appeal against a penalty if you could not file your return by the deadline because of an unusual event that was either unforeseeable or beyond your control. HMRC will only accept a reasonable excuse for not meeting the deadline if this event stopped you from either:

  • filing the return yourself
  • making arrangements for someone else to file it

Interest charges

You must pay any SDLT due within 14 days after the effective date of the transaction. If you pay the tax late, you’ll pay interest from the day after you should have paid it until the day you pay it.

If you do not pay, HMRC will write to both you and your agent to tell you how much tax you’ve underpaid and how much interest you’ve been charged so far.

You should pay the tax and the interest as soon as possible.

HMRC uses the official rate of interest set by HM Treasury to work out how much interest you’ll have to pay.

HMRC charges interest if:

  • your payment of the tax due has not been received
  • there’s no evidence to show beyond reasonable doubt that you sent your payment when you filed your return

You cannot appeal against a late payment interest charge

Interest charged on tax is not a penalty so you cannot appeal against it. It’s a charge to compensate HMRC for not having the money when we should have, so you must pay it.

If you think your late payment was caused by HMRC, write to the address below and explain why you think that HMRC’s actions caused the late payment. Include any supporting evidence with your letter.

If you do not think you should pay interest, have been charged too much, or want a full interest breakdown, write to:

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

How to amend a return

You’ve 12 months from the filing date to amend your return. The filing date is 14 days after the effective date of your transaction.

You can correct minor errors by phone. For more substantial errors you’ll need to write to HMRC.

Amend by phone

Minor changes can be made by calling the Stamp Duty Land Tax helpline, these include:

  • vendor details
  • buyer details on either questions 59 or 70 of the SDLT1 paper return
  • some spelling errors in the property address
  • question 26 or 72 of your paper return if you’ve received a SDLT8 showing you’ve made a mistake
  • wrong title number
  • correcting the purchase price or other tax details

The effective date of the transaction can also be changed if the change does not mean the return was received before the transaction was completed. If this applies you’ll need to:

When you call you must tell us:

  • the UTRN for your transaction
  • details of the changes you want to make

If we cannot make the change, we’ll tell you what to do next.

If the change means you’ve paid:

Amend by post

Changes where you need to write to the Stamp Duty Land Tax Office, and send a copy of the contract include:

  • adding a title number
  • purchaser details, to either add or remove a purchaser
  • a substantial error in the property address or to add a property

You should also write to the Stamp Duty Land Tax Office to cancel a duplicate return, which should include all the right and wrong UTRNs.

HMRC will confirm the amendment and tell you if you need to take any further action.

HMRC can make a compliance check into your amended return up to 9 months after you’ve made an amendment. If you got a repayment but the amount you were repaid was not due, you must pay it back.

Substantial errors

For substantial errors (for example, where the underlying identity of any buyer or the property details needs changing or where the new effective date is after the date of notification) you must:

  • send a new SDLT1 and file a new return with the correct information
  • write to the Stamp Duty Land Tax Office giving reasons for the new return and give the UTRN of the incorrect and correct returns

Amend a return when HMRC open a formal enquiry

You can still amend your return after HMRC has started a compliance check but your amendment cannot take effect until after the check is finished.

If HMRC find that your return is incorrect, you’ll be told how to amend it. HMRC will take into account any amendment you’ve already asked for.

If you’ve sent a return in error or sent a duplicate return

If you send either a return for a transaction that does not need a return or a duplicate return, write to Stamp Duty Land Tax Office to ask them to disregard it.

You must include:

  • the UTRN
  • the reason why they should disregard the return
  • whether you’ve used the SDLT5 certificate to register the transaction with the Land Registry

If you’ve filed an unnecessary or duplicate return and incurred a penalty charge that you want to dispute,you should appeal in writing. This must be within 14 days of the date on the penalty notice.

Mistakes on your SDLT return that are more than 12 months old

HMRC Stamp Taxes can amend a buyer’s name, but cannot make any amendments that change either the underlying identity of any buyer or the property details.

You cannot correct other mistakes on your SDLT return more than 12 months after the filing deadline. You may still be able to claim a refund if the mistake means you’ve paid too much SDLT.

Ask HMRC to amend a return older than 12 months by writing to the Stamp Duty Land Tax Office explaining:

  • what the error is
  • how it arose and include a copy of your original return

If you’ve underpaid SDLT

You must tell HMRC as soon as you realise you’ve underpaid SDLT.

If you do not, you may have to pay a penalty. You’ll normally have to pay interest on any SDLT you pay late.

How to apply for a refund

If you think you’ve overpaid SDLT, you can apply for a refund.

Higher SDLT rates for additional properties

If you sell or give away your previous main home within 3 years of buying your new home you can apply for a refund of the higher rate part of your SDLT bill.

You cannot get a refund if:

  • you or your spouse still own any part of your previous home
  • the higher rates still apply for another reason

When you amend your return

You have 1 year from the filing date to amend your SDLT return and apply for a refund if, for example you need to make an election for:

  • Multiple Dwellings Relief
  • Group Relief
  • Charities Relief

If it’s more than a year since the filing date, as long as you’re not excluded from claiming relief, you can apply for Overpayment Relief.

Apply for a refund by writing to the Stamp Duty Land Tax Office and include:

  • the UTRN
  • copy of the original SDLT return
  • reason why you think you’ve overpaid
  • the parts of the SDLT return which are wrong
  • revised figures and confirm the amount of refund due
  • contract for the land transaction (if appropriate)
  • instrument (if any) by which the transaction was effected - this is generally the relevant transfer document, the lease or similar document

HMRC will pay any refund to you unless you give permission to pay it to someone else (for example, your solicitor or agent).

Refund requests from a solicitor or agent

If you’re a solicitor or legal conveyancers and you want HMRC to pay any refund due to your client, you need to write to the Stamp Duty Land Tax Office to confirm this.

Refunds can only be paid to the lead purchaser, unless you send HMRC a letter signed by the lead purchaser confirming who we need to repay. A general form of authority may not be enough for us to process the refund.

Published 28 November 2018
Last updated 1 March 2019 + show all updates
  1. The SDLT payments and returns time limit has been changed from 30 days to 14 days of the 'effective' transaction date.
  2. First published.