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The Compact Guide to Stamp Duty in Northern Ireland20th November 2017

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Buying a house, any house, can be an exciting time. From first homes to moving up in the world, and property investing to holiday retreats, each purchase is important and it can be easy to get swept up in the anticipation of it all.

That’s why Stamp Duty can be forgotten and we want to change that.

It might not be as exciting as that first glimpse of your dream home, or the first time you get the keys in your hand, but it’s an important element to understand and something that could impact your budget or decision-making.

We’ve answered the key questions below.

What is Stamp Duty?

Stamp Duty, also known as Stamp Duty Land Tax or SDLT, is a government tax on all land transactions for residential property.

The tax has been re-evaluated in various states and the current version was introduced in 2003. The rate paid is relative to the type of property, price and use in question but it should be noted that you wont pay any Stamp Duty on a property worth under £300,000, unless you already own another property.

If you’re interested in calculating your own Stamp Duty you can access HMRC’s Northern Ireland Stamp Duty Land Tax calculator by clicking here for guidance but please check with your solicitor for confirmation.

Stamp Duty Specifics

As noted above, every property above the value of £300,000 will accrue the Stamp Duty tax but there are other specifics you might want to consider.

The first notable point is that Stamp Duty is required from first time buyers if the new property falls within the taxable bands listed in the table. There was a scheme, introduced in 2010 but revoked in 2012, that meant first time buyers were exempt but that no longer applies in any form.

It should also be noted that Stamp Duty is again required regardless of whether the property in question has been obtained freehold or leasehold.

Finally, as of 2016, all Buy to Let properties require an instant 3% Stamp Duty tax to be paid within 30 days of purchase.

How and When to Pay Stamp Duty?

Stamp Duty is generally handled by your solicitor, alongside all other purchasing issues, and as a result you, the buyer, will have very little to do during the process.

Regarding when, HMRC requires all Stamp Duty tax to be paid and returned to customs within 30 days of the official property purchase date. Please be aware that this timeframe is currently under review and HMRC may reduce the period to 14 days post purchase from 2018 onwards.

If you’re moving houses, and have bought your new house but haven’t yet sold your old house, the new property will be considered a second home and you will have to pay a Stamp Duty fee relative to the value of your purchase.

Luckily, the second home portion can be refunded and returned if you sell your old house within thirty-six months and apply for a refund within three months of the official selling date. Keep this in mind if you’re part of a chain.

Who is Exempt from Stamp Duty?

Not everyone has to pay Stamp Duty.

As we’ve already discussed, any property under the value of £300,000 is exempt, but there are also SDLT reliefs available in certain circumstances.

There are also exemptions available for properties transferred via wills, divorces or separations, those given as a gift, properties considered holiday lodges or the likes of houseboats and mobile homes.

Finally, it’s worth knowing, especially for those considering property investing, that any second property purchased with a value under £39,999 is exempt from the tax. Anything with a value of £40,000 and beyond is taxable relative to its specific value.

If you’re unsure ask your estate agent, mortgage broker or solicitor for more information and advise.


There are plenty of other aspects to the house buying process that are much more exciting but at Colin Graham Residential we want to deliver a full service that leaves you as prepared as possible.

With that in mind we want to ensure that you understand completely, the role that the Stamp Duty Land Tax could play in your property journey.

Hopefully this guided explanation has answered your questions but if you’re still unsure about the specifics you can contact us by clicking here. We’d be happy to have a chat and steer you in the right direction.

Or, if you’re right at the beginning of your home buying journey, why not check out our properties on offer here?


Please note that all information is correct and up-to-date on the publication date of 22nd November 2017. 

All information is in relation to Stamp Duty regulations published by HMRC on 1st April 2016 and last updated on 6th March 2017 at the time of this publication. These links can be found by clicking here and here