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05 December 2018

157: Reduction of SDLT pay and file window to 14 days

Next year, the time limit for filing a stamp duty land tax (SDLT) return and paying the tax due will reduce from 30 to 14 days.

This will apply to property transactions with an ‘effective date’ on or after 1 March 2019. This is usually the completion date, but it can be earlier if ‘substantial performance’ of the transaction takes place earlier. For example, where a buyer takes up possession of a property before completion then the transaction has been substantially performed and SDLT becomes payable at that date.

Although HMRC’s objective for reducing the time limit to 14 days is to improve efficiency, the shortened dates may fill lawyers, agents and clients with horror due to the complex nature of SDLT returns in the current regime.

However, the current 30 day filing window will continue to apply in the following circumstances where a further return is required:

  • a transaction that involves contingent, uncertain or unascertained consideration becomes notifiable again following new information;
  • a transaction involving one of certain SDLT reliefs is followed by a later linked transaction and a further return is required for the earlier transaction due to withdrawal of relief. A lease continuing after a fixed term requires a further return as a result of the continuation;
  • an indefinite lease continuing after a deemed fixed term requires a further return; and
  • in the first five years of a lease with rent that was contingent, uncertain or unascertained, the rent becomes certain, triggering a further return.

We await the results of a recent HMRC consultation on SDLT return filing and proposals for the reduction in the amount of information which will need to be supplied, but it is unlikely that the 14 day window will change.

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