Business tax – guidance

Stamp Duty Land Tax: filing and payment deadlines

Deadlines for filing Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) returns and paying SDLT, what to do if you receive a request for payment.

Overview

From 1 April 2015 SDLT no longer applies to land transactions in Scotland. These will be subject to Land and Buildings Transaction Tax.

When you buy or transfer land or property, or take on a lease you usually need to notify HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). You do this by completing an SDLT return, sometimes referred to as a Land Transaction Return.

The deadline for filing your SDLT return is 30 days after the effective date of the transaction, which is usually the completion date.

If you have to pay SDLT on the transaction, the payment deadline is the same as for the return - you must pay within 30 days of the effective date.

You’ll have to pay a fixed penalty if you file your return late. The amount depends on how late your return is. If it’s more than 12 months late, you’ll have to pay a tax-based penalty too and any interest on any tax paid late.

Filing deadlines

You must file your SDLT return and pay any SDLT within 30 days of the effective date of the transaction. This is usually the completion date but this can be earlier if the contract is ‘substantially performed’ before the completion date, such as:

  • the purchaser being entitled to take possession of the property
  • the first payment of rent
  • subletting
  • payment of at least 90% of the consideration

Penalties for late filing

If you don’t file your SDLT return by the filing date, you’ll have to pay an automatic fixed penalty. The amount of the penalty depends on how late you file your return.

If you file it:

  • within 3 months after the filing date the penalty is £100
  • more than 3 months after the filing date the penalty is £200

If you don’t file your SDLT return within 12 months after the filing date you’ll have to pay a tax-based penalty as well as the fixed penalty. The tax-based penalty can be up to the full amount of the tax due on the return.

Appealing against a penalty

You can appeal against a penalty if you couldn’t file your SDLT return by the deadline because of an unusual event that is either unforeseeable or beyond your control. HMRC will only accept that you had a reasonable excuse for not meeting the deadline if this event prevented you from either:

  • filing the return yourself
  • making arrangements for someone else to file it

Interest charges

You must pay any SDLT due within 30 days after the effective date of the transaction. If you pay the tax late, you’ll have to pay interest from the day after you should have paid it until the date when you actually pay it.

If you don’t pay the tax due on the transaction by the deadline, HMRC will send you form SDLT12, which is a letter advising of an underpayment. They send this to both the purchaser and their agent and it tells you how much tax has been underpaid and how much interest has been charged so far.

You should pay the tax and the interest as soon as possible.

HMRC uses the official rate of interest set by HM Treasury to work out how much interest you’ll have to pay. They’ll charge interest if:

  • they haven’t received your payment of the tax due
  • there’s no evidence to show beyond reasonable doubt that you sent your payment when you filed your SDLT return

You can’t appeal against a late payment interest charge

Interest charged on tax isn’t a penalty so you can’t appeal against it. Like any other interest it’s a commercial charge to compensate HMRC for not having the money when they should have done. It therefore has to be paid.

If you believe that the lateness is due to an HMRC action you can write explaining why you believe that HMRC’s actions contributed to the late payment. With your letter you should include any supporting evidence.

If you don’t think you should have to pay interest, think you’ve been charged too much, or require a full interest breakdown, you should write to:

The Finance Team
Birmingham Stamp Office
9th Floor
City Centre House
30 Union Street
Birmingham
B2 4AR