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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: withdrawal of relief

Where an exclusion from the 15 per cent higher rate charge has applied and, within three years of the effective date of the transaction, the conditions for the exclusion cease to be met, the exclusion is withdrawn. This is expressed in the legislation as a withdrawal of relief. The three year period beginning with the effective date of the transaction is called the ‘control period’.

There are specific rules for each of the exclusions from the higher threshold charge. Note that withdrawal will apply even if, during the control period, the conditions for a different exclusion are met.

Generally, withdrawal will not occur if, due to a change of circumstances that was not foreseen and is beyond the control of the purchaser, it is not reasonable to expect the purposes for which the property was acquired to be fulfilled. An example might be where a director, on whom a company is entirely dependent, falls ill for a considerable period of time and a dwelling is left vacant pending the director’s return to health. In deciding whether such a set of circumstances exists, HMRC will consider all the relevant facts.

In the following pages, references to ‘reasonable steps’ are to steps of the sort that might be expected to be taken, on commercial grounds, by the particular business in the particular circumstances.