The chancellor has announced a temporary holiday on stamp duty on the first £500,000 of all property sales in England and Northern Ireland.
The level at which the tax is charged has been temporarily raised until next March to £500,000 to boost the property market and help buyers struggling because of the coronavirus crisis.
The changes have come in with immediate effect.
What is stamp duty?
Stamp duty is a tax paid by people buying properties, although it varies slightly across the UK.
In England and Northern Ireland buyers pay Stamp Duty Land Tax.
In Scotland it is Land and Buildings Transaction Tax, while in Wales buyers pay Land Transaction Tax.
The amount handed to the government depends on where you are in the UK, the price of the property and whether you’re a first-time buyer.
The expected changes to stamp duty will only apply to buyers in England and Northern Ireland.
Who pays stamp duty and how much?
In England and Northern Ireland stamp duty is paid on land or property sold for £125,000 or more.
However, first-time buyers pay no tax up to £300,000 and 5% on any portion between £300,000 and £500,000.
For people who have bought a home before, stamp duty rates are 2% on £125,001-£250,000, 5% on £250,001-£925,000, 10% on £925,001-£1.5m, and 12% on any value above £1.5m.
That means someone spending £248,000 – the average cost of a house – would currently pay £2,460 in stamp duty to move home.
Landlords pay an extra 3% of stamp duty when they purchase a buy-to-let property in England and Northern Ireland.
What about Scotland and Wales?
In Scotland, the rates on Land and Buildings Transaction Tax are 2% on £145,001-£250,000, 5% on £250,001-£325,000, 10% on £325,001-£750,000, and 12% on any value above £750,000.
Scottish landlords pay an extra 4% Land and Buildings Transaction Tax on top of standard rates.
In Wales, the rates on Land Transaction Tax are 3.5% on £180,001-£250,000, 5% on £250,001-£400,000, 7.5% on £400,001-£750,000, 10% on £750,001-£1.5m, and 12% on any value above £1.5m.
Welsh landlords pay an extra 3% Land Transaction Tax on top of standard rates.
What has changed?
The government has increased the lower stamp duty threshold to £500,000 for property sales in England and Northern Ireland.
That means any property purchases below the new level will not need to pay stamp duty as long as the deal is completed before 31 March 2021.
The move is aimed at helping buyers who have taken a financial hit because of the coronavirus crisis.
It is also intended to boost a property market hit by lockdown. According to the Halifax, house prices have fallen for four months in a row.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “The average stamp duty bill will fall by £4,500. And nearly nine out of 10 people buying a main home this year, will pay no stamp duty at all.”
When will the stamp duty holiday happen?
It is effective immediately from Wednesday and will last until 31 March next year.
The increase will be temporary to help revive the flagging property market.
However, critics worry it could encourage people planning to buy next year to accelerate their plans to take advantage of the tax break, leading to a potential property demand slump when the stamp duty holiday is over.
How much could a buyer save?
The more you pay – up to the new £500,000 threshold – the more you could save on stamp duty.
Before the stamp duty holiday, if you bought a house for £275,000, for instance, the stamp duty you’d have had to pay would have been £3,750.
That’s based on 0% duty on the first £125,000, 2% on the next £125,000 (£2,500), plus 5% on the final £25,000 (£1,250).
The holiday means anyone buying a home in Bramhall, Stockport would save £13,603 in stamp duty, based on Rightmove estimates of an average asking price of £472,053.
How much does stamp duty raise?
The government’s annual take from stamp duty is around £12bn, according to the latest figures released by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
That’s roughly equivalent to 2% of the Treasury’s total tax take.
- The government has a stamp duty calculator here
- You can work out how much stamp duty you currently have to pay here
Are you about to move house or planning to move? How will you be affected by the changes in stamp duty? Share your experiences by emailing.
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