Calculation of stamp duty land tax: Rent: Variable or uncertain rent: NPV
Under FA03/SCH17A/PARA7, special rules apply to determine the rent to be taken into account for the net present value (NPV) calculation in cases where the rent, or part of the rent, payable under a lease is variable, contingent, uncertain or unascertainable at the date of grant.
These rules apply where rent is variable because of provisions in the lease, for example where the lease provides for fixed rent increases over the term (note that this is as opposed to the treatment of variations outside the terms of the original lease, which are dealt with at SDLTM19000).
Rent taken into account in respect of each of the first five years of the lease
The actual figures of rent payable are used for the NPV calculation, if known at the date of grant. Where variations in rents are fixed, the calculation will be based on these amounts. If however the rent payable for any of the first five years is either contingent, uncertain or unascertainable at the date of grant, special rules apply to quantify the rent for this period for stamp duty land tax purposes- see SDLTM18520.
Rent taken into account for years after the first five
For the purposes of the NPV calculation, the actual rent payable for any period after the first five years is substituted by the figure of ‘highest rent’ payable in respect of any consecutive twelve-month period in the first five years of the term. To find the highest rent, take the actual rent, if known, or any estimated or assumed figures of rent, for each twelve-month period of the first five years of the term of the lease (beginning with the date of grant) and find the highest figure of rent.
In practice, therefore, any rent changes after the first five years of a variable lease are ignored unless they constitute an ‘abnormal’ increase under paragraph 14 and 15 of Schedule 17A Finance Act 2003 (see SDLTM18620). The date of the beginning of this ‘highest rent’ twelve-month period is the start date for the purposes of determining whether an increase in variable rent is ‘abnormal’.