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First time buyer changes to Stamp Duty: FAQ

On 22nd November 2017 the rules regarding Stamp Duty for first time buyers changed. We're answering some of the questions arising from the Stamp Duty exemption for first time buyers.

First time buyer changes to Stamp Duty: FAQ
Please note: as of 8th July 2020 all property purchases (excluding second homes/Buy to Let) will be Stamp Duty exempt until 31 March 2021. This applies to First Time Buyers and those who have owned properties before. After 31st March, we expect this to revert back to the £300,000 limit for First Time Buyers.

First time buyers will be exempt from paying Stamp Duty on properties up to £300,000, and if buying a property worth up to £500,000, they will only pay Stamp Duty on the amount over £300,000.

However, there are still some specific details regarding eligibility. Here are some of the questions people are asking.

I’m a first time buyer - we’ve exchanged but not completed so do I still need to pay?

This comes into play when you have completed the sale, so if you exchanged before 22nd November but have not yet completed, you will qualify for the Stamp Duty exemption.

I’m a first time buyer, but my partner owns a Buy To Let property - are we eligible?
No, unless you are solely buying the property in your name. Both partners buying the property need to be first time buyers.

I sold a property 5 years ago and don’t own anything. Does that make me a first time buyer?
No, if you have owned a property before, even if you don’t now, you are not an FTB.

I inherited a place in France but have no property in England - do I qualify?
Inheriting property, even abroad means you are not eligible. Also if you bought property abroad you cannot qualify.

I’m a first time buyer selling in Scotland and buying in England - do I qualify? What if I sell in England and buy in Scotland?
If you are selling in Scotland and buying in England, then you have previously owned property and cannot be eligible. If you are selling in England and buying in Scotland, you will not qualify for the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) exemption available in Scotland.

I own commercial premises, but not a home. Am I a first time buyer?
If you own commercial property but not a dwelling, you are a first time buyer and are eligible.

I want to buy with my partner, but I live elsewhere – are we eligible?
If you are aiming to live with your partner when you buy the property, you qualify. If both your names will be on the deeds, but you will not be living in the property, you cannot qualify.

I live in Wales – can I apply?
Afraid not - from April 1st 2018 Wales are changing the SDLT to the Land Transaction Tax, which has different rates to Stamp Duty. There is no exemption for first time buyers in the Welsh system, however the threshold starts at £180,000 so if you buy a property below that price you will not pay Land Transaction Tax anyway.

I live in Scotland - is there an exemption?

Scotland uses Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) and there is an exemption available from June 2018 - if you're buying a property under the value of £175,000 you won't pay LBTT. If your property price is higher than that, you won't pay on the first £175,000 and then will pay regular rates after that.

Add any questions you have about the first time buyer Stamp Duty changes, and we’ll answer them as soon as possible.

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