Stamp Duty: land transfers before December 2003

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


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

You’ll need to apply to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) to get your transfer, conveyance or lease documents stamped if either of the following applies:

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

You’ll also need to send HMRC any Stamp Duty payment that’s due, or your payment acknowledgement if you’ve paid the duty online.

You won’t be able to use the transfer document for any legal purpose, including registering the property with the Land Registry unless HMRC has stamped it and 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 Birmingham Stamp Office to be stamped 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.

When you write to HMRC you’ll need to include:

  • the name and address of the person the stamped documents should be returned to (this might not be the same as the person sending them)
  • your cheque, or your payment reference number if you’ve paid using a different method (the payment reference number is the one that you’ve generated or chosen yourself)

You can usually expect HMRC to deal with your transfer documents within 5 days of receiving them. You should allow 10 days to give them time to be returned by post.

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
  • form TR1, the 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 the Birmingham Stamp Office


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 the Birmingham Stamp Office

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 send your documents to Birmingham Stamp Office 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 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

Help and advice

If you’ve got any questions about Stamp Duty, you can write to, or call HMRC Stamp Taxes. If you write to HMRC, mark correspondence with ‘Query regarding Stamp Duty on Land before December 2003’.

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

Published 26 July 2013