HMRC internal manual

Stamp Duty Land Tax Manual

Scope: when is Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) chargeable: higher rate charge for acquisitions of residential property by certain non-natural persons FA03/S55/SCH4A: opportunity to the public to enjoy etc.

The opportunity must genuinely be available to the public on 28 separate days in each calendar year. However, the opportunity need not be taken on 28 days.

For example, a dwelling may be open as a wedding venue. If, in one year, only 20 weddings on separate days are held at the house but it was available for hire on every Friday and Saturday, this condition would still be met.

If a dwelling becomes exploited part way through a chargeable period, such that it will not be available for 28 days in that calendar year, the relief will still be available provided that there is an intention to make it available for at least that number of days in each subsequent calendar year and steps were being taken during the earlier part of the year to open to the public.

The normal meaning of ‘public’ will apply in this context so the opportunity must be available to everyone, subject to reasonable commercial considerations.

Where the opportunity is only available to persons connected to or familiar with the owner of the single-dwelling interest (or persons connected with them) and access to the dwelling is only as a result of personal invitation, this will not amount to being available to the public.

However, where a connected person takes advantage of the opportunity in their capacity as a member of the public rather than because of that connection then they will be considered to be a member of the public.