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HMRC internal manual

Stamp Duty Land Tax Manual

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HM Revenue & Customs
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Commencement and transitional provisions

Contracts entered into before 10 July 2003

There are special provisions for land transactions effected in pursuance of a contractentered into on or before the date of Royal Assent of FA03, 10 July 2003.

If such a contract was substantially performed, see SDLTM07700,on or before 10 July 2003 then the land transaction is not a stamp duty land taxtransaction by virtue of FA03/SCH19/PARA4(2). See example 1 SDLTM49300a.

If the contract was not substantially performed on or before 10 July 2003 then the landtransaction is not a stamp duty land tax transaction unless

  1. there is any variation of the contract or assignment of rights under the contract after 10 July 2003
  2. the transaction is effected in consequence of the exercise after 10 July 2003 of any option, right of pre-emption or similar right
  3. after 10 July 2003 there is an assignment, sub-sale or other transaction relating to the whole or part of the subject-matter of the contract as a result of which a person other than the purchaser under the contract becomes entitled to call for a conveyance to him by virtue of FA03/SCH19/PARA3. See example 2 SDLTM49300b

A variation under (a) would include a change to

  • the subject matter of the contract, or
  • to the parties, or to the contractual consideration, or
  • in an agreement for a lease to the term length.

On the other hand some changes, for example, to prescribed colour schemes or tocontractual completion date, may be too insignificant to amount to a variation.

The reference to assignment of rights in FA03/SCH19/PARA3(3)(a) refers only to assignmentsby the purchaser under the contract.

This is consistent with the fact that FA03/SCH19/PARA3(3)(c), as amended byFA04/SCH39/PARA12, refers only to a change of purchaser.

Thus a contract remains protected if the only change is a change in the contractingvendor.