Stamp Duty on land transfers before December 2003

How to deal with a property or land transfer that started before 10 July 2003 and was completed after 1 December 2003.

To help stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) we have temporarily changed the way we deal with Stamp Duty.

You should email electronic copies of your documents to

Do not post any documents to HMRC. 

This guidance will be updated when this change ends. 


You usually pay Stamp Duty Land Tax when you buy land or property, or take on a lease. Stamp Duty may also be payable on the transfer document if you entered into a contract to transfer land before 10 July 2003 that wasn’t completed until after 1 December 2003.

Notifying HMRC

All forms must be fully completed, signed and dated, using power of attorney if necessary.

HMRC will accept e-signatures while coronavirus (COVID-19) measures are in place.

If you cannot get your documents signed and dated, email

You’ll need to apply to HMRC to get your transfer, conveyance or lease documents processed if the transfer document either:

  • was executed before 1 December 2003
  • is from a contract that was entered into before 10 July 2003

You’ll also need to pay HMRC any Stamp Duty payment that’s due, and send HMRC your payment reference when you’ve paid the duty online.

You will not be able to use the transfer document for any legal purpose, including registering the property with the HM Land Registry unless HMRC has processed it and confirmed that you’ve paid any Stamp Duty that’s due.

Documents to send HMRC

You must send the documents you used for the purchase, transfer or lease of the land to HMRC Stamp Taxes within 30 days of the date of execution. The documents you need to send depend on the type of transaction.

The date of execution is normally the date you signed the document. In the case of a lease, it’s the lease date.

You cannot currently post documents because of coronavirus (COVID-19). If you only have a paper copy of your form, you’ll need to send a copy of it by email to

You’ll need to include:

  • the name and email address of the person the documents should be returned to (this might not be the same as the person sending them)
  • your payment reference number (the payment reference number is the one that you’ve generated or chosen yourself)
  • a fully completed, signed and dated L(A)451 form, using power of attorney if necessary - L(A) 451 forms can be requested from the HMRC mailbox if you do not have one

You can usually expect HMRC to deal with your transfer documents within 5 days of receiving them.

If you have already posted your documents

You should resubmit them electronically, including details about:

  • any payments you have made in respect of that documentation
  • when the documents were originally posted in

If you do not resubmit your documents electronically, your documents will not be assessed or returned to you until temporary coronavirus (COVID-19) measures end.

Transfers and conveyances

If your transaction is a transfer or conveyance, you’ll need to send:

  • the document used for the transfer or conveyance to be stamped - this could be form TR1, the HM Land Registry form for transferring the title of the property
  • a copy of the contract showing the date of the transfer
  • a completed form Stamps L(A) 451 available from HMRC Stamp Taxes


If your transaction involves a lease, you’ll need to send:

  • the lease agreement (in Scotland this is called the Missives of Let)
  • the document showing the assignment of the lease
  • a completed form Stamps L(A) 451 available from HMRC Stamp Taxes

Make a payment

When you send your documents to be stamped you must pay the correct amount of Stamp Duty. If you’re not sure of the amount to pay, you can ask HMRC for its opinion.

The amount of Stamp Duty you’ll have to pay depends on the rate of duty that applied on the date the document was executed.

To be sure that you pay the right amount, you can email your documents to HMRC Stamp Taxes and ask them to calculate the Stamp Duty for you.

You may need to pay a penalty or interest if you don’t notify HMRC and pay Stamp Duty that’s due within 30 days of the date of execution. In the case of transfers and conveyances, the date of execution is normally the date the document is signed. In the case of leases, it’s the date of the lease.

Claim Stamp Duty relief

You may be able to claim Stamp Duty relief when:

  • the transfer is between related companies
  • the transfer or lease is to a charity or organisation that’s been set up for a charitable purpose, like a school

After you’ve paid

No documents are currently being stamped by HMRC. Instead, once we have checked your documents and confirmed we have received payment we will send you an email that includes a letter that will:

  • confirm receipt of Stamp Duty
  • detail the transactions we are confirming receipt for and the reference codes
  • confirm that the fully completed, signed and dated L(A)451 form has been submitted to us

When you submit your documents to HM Land Registry, you should include a copy of the letter with the documents.

Help and advice

If you’ve got any questions about Stamp Duty, you can email or call HMRC Stamp Taxes. If you email HMRC, include in the subject line ‘Stamp Duty on Land before December 2003’.

You can also find information about Stamp Duty from the HM Land Registry.

Published 26 July 2013
Last updated 21 April 2020 + show all updates
  1. Information added on how to deal with Stamp Duty due to coronavirus (COVID-19).

  2. First published.