Stamp Duty Land Tax: what's included in the calculation
The transactions to include in the amount you use to calculate Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT).
SDLT no longer applies in Scotland. Instead you pay Land and Buildings Transaction Tax when you buy a property.
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) calls the total amount you use to work out the SDLT you pay, the ‘chargeable consideration’.
In a straightforward deal, for example a house cash buy, the chargeable consideration is the price you pay for the property. How you decide what counts as the chargeable consideration can be more complicated for other transactions.
SDLT doesn’t usually apply if you get the property as a gift and there’s no chargeable consideration.
The chargeable consideration
In most property transactions, you pay money in exchange for the property or land, or for an interest in land. But there are other ways of making payment. If you give something of value in exchange for land or property, it counts towards the chargeable consideration.
As well as money, you can exchange property for:
- works or services
- release from a debt
- transfer of (taking on) a debt
In many situations, payment may include both money and some other consideration, for example, 2 people who own a house together, then split up. One pays the other for their share of the equity and also takes on their outstanding mortgage liability.
Calculate the chargeable consideration
The chargeable consideration includes anything paid for assets that form part of the land or property.
These assets can include:
- buildings and structures that are part of the land, for example farm buildings
- fixtures and fittings, including bathroom and kitchen fittings, but not carpets, curtains or free standing furniture
- intangible assets, for example the value of goodwill attached to the land
It also includes the estimated value of a commitment to do work or services, for example a promise from the seller to repair the property.
The chargeable consideration also includes any VAT you pay on the transaction.
Items not included in the chargeable consideration
When the sale price includes a payment for items that aren’t part of the chargeable consideration, they must be valued at a rate reflecting their fair market value.
For example, if the seller includes carpets in the sale, the buyer and seller must agree a fair price bearing in mind their age and quality. Subtract this from the price paid to find the chargeable consideration.
The same rules apply if the seller includes moveable assets, for example machinery, in the sale of a business. The part of the sale price allocated to such assets must be fair and reasonable.
In some transactions, the purchaser may pay part of the agreed price on transfer and the rest at some later date. This is called a ‘postponed consideration’.
For example, a business owner sells his premises to a colleague for a total of £1 million as follows:
- £700,000 now
- a further payment of £300,000 in a year’s time
In this case, SDLT is still due on the full amount of £1 million. There’s no discount or postponement of any SDLT payable because there’s a later payment.
Find the current SDLT rates and thresholds.
Payment depending on the outcome of future events
A transaction could include an amount that the buyer will only pay if some future event happens. This is known as the ‘contingent consideration’.
For example, a developer might agree to pay an extra sum, on condition that they get planning permission for redevelopment.
In these cases you pay SDLT on the assumption that the contingency will happen. The buyer can apply to defer payment of SDLT on the contingent amount. But HMRC still charge the tax at the appropriate rate for the total chargeable consideration.
For example, a builder buys a plot for £400,000 and agrees to pay a further £200,000 if he gets planning permission for a new building. He can apply for deferment on SDLT on the conditional £200,000 but will pay SDLT on the initial payment now. The SDLT due on the initial payment will be at 4%, because the total potential payment is above the £500,000 threshold.
Payment depending on uncertain future events
Some transactions may include a later payment which depends on an unknown variable. This is known as the ‘uncertain or unascertained consideration’.
For example, future payments based on the turnover of a business.
In these cases, calculate the SDLT on the basis of a ‘just and reasonable estimate’ of the amount involved. The buyer can apply to defer payment of the uncertain or unascertainable part. Otherwise, make an appropriate adjustment when the amount of consideration is certain.