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Buyers and Tenants Beware

February 18, 2019

The first of March will see a significant change to Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) filing.  From this date, the deadline to submit a SDLT return will reduce from 30 days to 14 days.  This deadline applies to both residential and commercial property.
Under the current SDLT regime, purchasers and tenants of properties have 30 days from the ‘effective date’ of a transaction to file a SDLT return and pay any duty due.  The effective date is usually completion of a lease or purchase but it can occur earlier, if for example, a tenant under a lease is allowed into occupation before the lease actually completes.
The change in deadline shouldn’t be too much of a concern on purchases as the SDLT liability can be calculated in advance but in relation to leases, often the amount of duty is not known until the actual completion date  because of rent free periods, rent apportionments and rent review dates etc.
The new rule will apply to transactions with an effective date of 1st March 2019 and beyond.  The change has received little publicity and it may catch a few people out.  Failure to comply with the deadline will result in fines and penalties of at least £100.00 - so buyers and tenants beware!

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