Business tax – guidance

Stamp Duty Land Tax: Scottish transactions

How land transactions in Scotland are dealt with before and after 1 April 2015 and how to get an urgent Stamp Duty Land Tax certificate.

Transactions on or after 1 April 2015

You’ll need to pay Land and Buildings Transaction Tax(LBTT) on land transactions in Scotland from 1 April 2015.

You won’t need to pay Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) or submit a return to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for these transactions.

Exceptionally, you may need to pay SDLT, not LBTT, on a transaction where the exchange of formal letters (missives) were concluded before 1 May 2012 but the effective date is on or after 1 April 2015.

For more detail about SDLT and LBTT read the Transitional guidance.

Transactions before 1 April 2015

You’ll need to pay SDLT on transactions with an effective date before 1 April 2015.

You can make online or paper returns to HMRC but you won’t be able to make returns through Registers of Scotland’s Automated Registration of Title to Land.

SDLT certificate

If you complete your return online you’ll be able to print your certificate straightaway. If you send in a paper return HMRC will send you a certificate through the post. You’ll need to send your certificate to the Registers of Scotland so that they can register your transaction.

Urgent request - 2 day service

If there’s a delay in receiving your certificate there may be a real risk that the buyer might lose the property. An example might be if the transaction needs to be registered on the day of settlement or on the following day. You might be able to get a handwritten certificate from HMRC using our 2 day service if the:

  • seller’s solicitor doesn’t provide the usual letters of obligation that guarantee the purchaser’s title if the transfer is registered within a specific time - usually 21 days
  • seller is a company and the letters of obligation are only on behalf of the client
  • buyer needs to register before they can get the funding for the transaction
  • SDLT return was filed online but a certificate wasn’t produced due to a system problem

You must apply within 2 working days of the effective date of the transaction and:

  • scan a copy of the completed and signed SDLT1 and any supplementary forms
  • produce a signed declaration which includes the name and address of the solicitor, the UTRN number and the reason for the urgent certificate.
  • email the scanned SDLT1, any supplementary forms and the signed declaration to
  • send the original SDLT1 and supplementary forms to the Stamp Taxes office, marking your correspondence ‘SDLT urgent’

If you filed the SDLT return online but haven’t received a certificate because of a system problem, you’ll have to provide both of the following when you apply:

  • the black and white PDF version of the electronically filed return
  • the submission receipt and UTRN

HMRC will process your request within 2 working days and if it satisfies the mandatory requirements, will send:

  • a copy of the SDLT5 certificate to you
  • a copy of the SDLT5 certificate to Registers of Scotland
  • the original SDLT5 certificate to your registered address, after HMRC has received the original completed and signed SDLT1 and supplementary forms

Write to HMRC about Stamp Duty Land Tax:

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

Urgent: fax request, SDLT certificate not received following submission of a paper return

You can use HMRC’s Scottish ‘urgency’ service if you file a paper return and you don’t receive your SDLT certificate within 16 calendar days of the effective date of the transaction. This service lets you apply for an urgency certificate by fax.

To apply you’ll need to:

  • request the service by contacting the Stamp Taxes Helpline
  • tell the Stamp Office whether or not the cheque you sent with your SDLT return has been cashed - but don’t stop the cheque if it hasn’t been cashed
  • fax a copy of your SDLT return marked for urgent attention to the Stamp Office

You’ll be sent a hand-written SDLT certificate by DX or by post as long as:

  • you filed the original SDLT return in time for HMRC to send you the certificate within 16 days
  • there are no errors or omissions in the return

SDLT certificate incorrect or incomplete

If you realise the information in an online or paper SDLT certificate is incorrect or incomplete you can still send it to Registers of Scotland for registration.

The transaction will usually be registered if you send a copy of the SDLT return with it, and a letter explaining either:

  • what information is missing
  • where the certificate differs from the return (this is only likely to happen with paper returns)

If Registers of Scotland won’t accept this you should contact the Stamp Office. They will arrange a replacement certificate for you.