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If you’ve bought a house, you may have used a stamp duty calculator to work out how much additional tax you needed to pay on top of your purchase price.
However, with an estimated £2billion owed to UK homebuyers in overpaid stamp duty, if you weren’t aware of these specialist calculation tools or you’re not sure you got the best advice, you may want to review your figures in case you’re one of them.
Using a UK stamp duty calculator is the only way to get an accurate calculation of what you should or should have paid when buying a new property. So if you’re planning a purchase, or think you may have paid too much tax on your current home, it’s the only way to get a true picture of what you owe or may be owed.
Stamp duty was first introduced to raise funds for the war in 1694. Obviously, the rates and where these funds are directed have changed a lot over the years, and according to government findings, 98% of people are now paying less in stamp duty than in the past.
Still, the latest bands are often blamed for slowing down the housing market. In some of the more expensive areas of London, the average stamp duty payment is £135,000 – adding a considerable levy to the price of buying a home.
In the UK, you’re subject to paying Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) when you buy land or property over a certain price.
At the time of publishing, the SDLT threshold for residential properties is £125,000 and £150,000 for non-residential land and properties.
However, there are some different rules and exceptions to be aware of. You’ll pay less, or even no tax if you meet any of the following requirements:
There are also some special circumstances that may be applicable to you and a homebuyer, so it’s worth speaking to your solicitor is best placed to offer advice you based on your individual circumstances.
If you’ve bought a home before (meaning you’re not a first-time buyer) the rates for stamp duty for 2020 are:
0% Up to £125,000
2% Over £125,000 to £250,000
5% Over £250,000 to £925,000
10% Over £925,000 to £1,500,000
12% Over £1,500,000
It’s not always as simple as taking the purchase price of the property and working out how much stamp duty you have to pay based on the brackets above though.
There are some other stipulations that might affect the calculation, such as the “consideration” amount of your property – where you may have used an alternative to money to pay towards the purchase, such as goods, services, release from debt and some other factors.
While the above has held true for the first part of 2020, it’s worth noting that due to the coronavirus pandemic, the government have announced a temporary reduction in stamp duty rates from July 2020 until March 2021.
So why is there such a large estimated figure of overpaid stamp duty?
The main reason is the discovery that the UK government’s own online stamp duty calculator has been giving people incorrect information in the past. There have been various errors, such as not accounting for annexes and other bits of property that could have given the buyer a saving, as well as not distinguishing between homes and mixed-use properties.
While solicitors have been relying on the government’s stamp duty calculator tools to generate client’s calculations for years, the government has issued a statement saying that their calculator is to be used as a “mere guide”.
So if you’ve bought a property or some land and paid stamp duty in the last four years, it might be worth your while to double-check how much stamp duty you should have paid – as you may well find you’re owed some money.
Errors do of course happen – especially with an area of tax that changes over the years and is subject to so many individual stipulations.
If you need access to an accurate stamp duty calculator for a UK property purchase, a few minutes on the phone to our experts will help you to assess any eligibility for a tax refund, or to ensure you have precise calculation for any property or land purchase you’re currently considering.