Stamp Duty Land Tax online and paper returns

Find out about sending a Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) return, late filing penalties, amending a return and applying for a refund.

You must tell HMRC about most England and Northern Ireland land and property transactions. Use a Stamp Duty Land Tax (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 completes, 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 you’ve submitted the return.

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. 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

Find out more about which property transactions are exempt from SDLT.

Sending an online return to HMRC

If you’re a solicitor or legal conveyancer, log in to HMRC’s Stamp Taxes Online service to file your SDLT return.

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.

You can use HMRC’s Stamp Taxes Online free service or SDLT commercial software providers.

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

If you use the HMRC Stamp Taxes Online service, you must fill in and file the SDLT return electronically. We reject returns that are filled in electronically then printed and posted. We also reject electronic forms that are 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 HM 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, use a separate schedule for further entries. Include the details for each additional property, seller or buyer and enter 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.

You can order the SDLT1 online or by phone.

Send the completed SDLT1 to us 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 we’ll reject your return.

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

Send the SDLT1 return and any tax due to us 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 the SDLT2 form.

SDLT3 — transaction involves more than one property

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

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 the SDLT1 you should fill in the SDLT4 form, 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 the SDLT4 form and SDLT4 guidance notes.

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

You can 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’ll send you form SDLT8 asking for the correct or missing information.

We’ll not send you the SDLT5 certificate until we receive this information.

Pay your SDLT

Pay your 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 late filing penalty. You can do this if you could not file your return by the deadline because of an unusual event. The event must have been 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 we’ve charged you so far.

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

We use the official rate of interest set by HM Treasury to work out how much interest you’ll have to pay. Find out more about the current HMRC late payment and repayment interest rates.

We charge interest if:

  • we’ve not received your payment of the tax due
  • 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 we caused your late payment, explain in writing why you think that our 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 and in some cases submit a new SDLT return.

Amend by phone

You can amend minor changes 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

You can also change the effective date of the transaction. You cannot change it to a date that would mean HMRC received the return before the completion date. 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
  • adding a property

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

HMRC will tell you if you need to take any further action.

Substantial errors

Examples of substantial errors are:

  • you need to change the name of the buyer (unless you simply need to correct a spelling mistake)
  • you need to change the property details
  • the new effective date is after the date of notification

For substantial errors you must:

  • submit a new SDLT 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 opens a formal enquiry

You can still amend your return after HMRC has started a compliance check. Your amendment cannot take effect until after we’ve finished the check.

If your return is incorrect, we’ll tell you how to amend it. We’ll take into account any amendment you’ve already asked for.

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

Write to Stamp Duty Land Tax office to ask them to disregard your return if you sent either:

  • a return for a transaction that does not need a return
  • a duplicate return

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 HM Land Registry

If you’ve filed an unnecessary or duplicate return, you may have received a penalty charge. If you want to appeal against the penalty, you should appeal in writing. This must be within 30 days of the date on the penalty notice.

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

HMRC Stamp Taxes can make minor corrections to a buyer’s name, for example a spelling mistake, but cannot make any amendments that change either the:

  • underlying identity of any buyer
  • property details

If these details are wrong you’ll need to submit a new return.

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. You should pay the additional SDLT as soon as possible quoting the UTRN of the transaction.

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

How to apply for a refund

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

To process refunds quickly, HMRC will ordinarily make the payment without checking eligibility. We reserve the right not to do so for revenue protection reasons.

This means that even after a repayment has been made, we have not agreed that the refund is due. We have up to 9 months to make a compliance check on your amended return or claim.

If you receive a repayment where the amount you claimed was not due, you must pay it back along with any interest due. If penalties apply, you must also pay them. Read more about penalties.

Higher SDLT rates for additional properties

If you sell or give away your previous main home, you can apply for a refund of the higher rate part of your SDLT bill. You can only do this if it’s within 3 years of buying your new home.

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

SDLT rates for non-UK residents

If you meet certain residence requirements after your transaction you may be able to apply for a refund of the 2% surcharge for non-UK residents. You’ll need to make a claim within 2 years of your purchase for a refund.

You cannot get a refund if any of the purchasers:

  • were not individuals, such as a company
  • do not meet the SDLT residence tests

When you amend your return

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

  • Multiple Dwellings Relief
  • Group Relief
  • Charities 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

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.

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

So that we can make any repayment as quickly as possible, you must provide the following when writing to us to request a repayment:

  • bank name
  • account number
  • sort code
  • name of account holder

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.

We can only pay refunds to the lead purchaser, unless you send 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.

Register land or property with HM Land Registry

Solicitors and legal conveyancers with access to HM Land Registry’s Business Gateway or portal can send the SDLT5 certificate and other SDLT forms to HM Land Registry online with the application to register land or property.

If you have not used a solicitor or legal conveyancer, you must send the SDLT5 certificate and other SDLT forms by post to the HM Land Registry’s standard address with the application for registering the land or property.

Published 28 November 2018
Last updated 23 March 2023 + show all updates
  1. Information about how HMRC treats applications for refunds of overpaid Stamp Duty Land Tax has been updated.

  2. Information about checks, repayments and paying back amounts not due, has been added to the 'How to apply for a refund' section.

  3. Information added for non-UK residents about when you may be able to apply for a refund of the 2% surcharge, and how to register land or property with HM Land Registry.

  4. In section 'When you amend your return' more information about details you must provide when writing to request a repayment has been added.

  5. The SDLT payments and returns time limit has been changed from 30 days to 14 days of the 'effective' transaction date.

  6. First published.