1. Overview

When you buy shares, you usually pay a tax or duty of 0.5% on the transaction.

If you buy:

You’ll have to pay tax at 1.5% if you transfer shares into some ‘depositary receipt schemes’ or ‘clearance services’.

You pay tax on the price you pay for the shares, even if their actual market value is much higher.

Transactions you pay tax on

You pay tax when you buy:

  • existing shares in a company incorporated in the UK
  • an option to buy shares
  • an interest in shares, eg an interest in the money from selling them
  • shares in a foreign company that has a share register in the UK
  • rights arising from shares, eg rights you have when new shares are issued

When you don’t pay tax

You don’t have to pay tax if you:

  • are given shares for nothing (including settling a debt)
  • subscribe to a new issue of shares in a company
  • buy shares in an ‘open ended investment company’ (OEIC) from the fund manager
  • buy units in a unit trust from the fund manager

You don’t normally have to pay Stamp Duty or SDRT if you buy foreign shares outside the UK. But you may have to pay other taxes.

When you sell the shares

You may need to pay Capital Gains Tax when you sell your shares.

Help and advice

Contact the Stamp Taxes helpline for help with SDRT and Stamp Duty.

You can also get professional help (eg a tax adviser) with your tax.