Buy-to-let and second home stamp duty rates
The table below shows the usual buy-to-let stamp duty rates in England and Northern Ireland.
|Portion of property price (England and NI)||Buy-to-let stamp duty rate|
|Rates also apply to second homes and holiday homes. |
*If total property price is £40,000 or less. **If total property price is more than £40,000, you'll pay the surcharge on the whole cost of the property.
When you're buying a property you don't intend to live in for most or all of the time - e.g. a buy-to-let property or holiday/second home - you'll have to pay 3% extra in stamp duty.
The main exception to this is people who've never owned a property before and are investing in buy-to-let property as first-time buyers, who will pay standard home mover rates.
Second home and buy-to-let stamp duty rates are tiered, like residential stamp duty rates and income tax.
You can check out the current buy-to-let stamp duty rates for investors in England and Northern Ireland in the image below, and find out how much you'll pay with our stamp duty calculator.
In December 2020, the Welsh government increased its stamp duty surcharge to 4% - the same level as in Scotland. If you're buying in Wales or Scotland, check out our separate guides on Welsh stamp duty (LTT) and Scottish stamp duty (LBTT).
Take a look at this example to see how it works:
- Property price: £275,000
- Portion 1: £0-£125,000 = 3% tax (£3,750)
- Portion 2: £125,000.01-£250,000 = 5% tax (£6,250)
- Portion 3: £250,000.01-£275,000 = 8% tax (£2,000)
- Total paid: £287,000 (£12,000 tax)
Use our calculator to find out how much tax you'll pay on a buy-to-let property or second home.
- Find out more: buy-to-let advice from Which?
Do I have to pay the stamp duty surcharge?
The rules around buy-to-let stamp duty can seem confusing. If you're still not sure whether you're likely to be charged the higher rates, try answering the questions on the chart below.
Then, see if the property you're buying fits with any of the exemptions further down the page.
Stamp duty surcharge for overseas buyers
Since April 2021, overseas-based buyers of residential properties in England and Northern Ireland have been required to pay a surcharge of 2% on top of the normal rates.
This applies on top of the 3% buy-to-let surcharge - so overseas residents buying an investment property will need to pay stamp duty at 5% more than the standard rates for UK home movers.
Buy-to-let stamp duty exemptions
If you're married or in a civil partnership and either partner already owns a property, you'll have to pay the additional stamp duty regardless of how many properties you yourself own.
If the purchase is not made by an individual (e.g. the buyer is a company rather than a person), the additional stamp duty will apply regardless of how many properties the company owns.
So what properties are excluded from buy-to-let stamp duty?
If the total price paid for the property is up to £40,000 you won't need to pay any stamp duty at all.
If you're buying a caravan, mobile home or houseboat, you'll also be exempt from stamp duty, regardless of the purchase price and whether it's going to be your main residence.
Being a first-time buyer
If you've never owned a house before and are purchasing a buy-to-let property, you won't have to pay the buy-to-let stamp duty rates. However, you won't qualify for the first-time buyer stamp duty exemption/discount either, as this only applies to those who intend to live in the property.
Instead, first-time buyers purchasing a buy-to-let property will pay the standard home mover stamp duty rates.
Married couples and civil partners
If one person in the relationship already owns a property, but then wants to buy as part of a couple, a higher rate of tax will apply to the property being bought together.
People who are married or in a civil partnership are treated as one person for stamp duty purposes.
The only instance where this is not the case is when married couples are living separately and are unlikely to get back together.
Unmarried couples and those purchasing jointly
If you're buying a property with someone you live with, and one of you already owns a property but the other doesn't, the only way to avoid paying higher stamp duty rates is for the person who doesn't own a property to buy the property on their own.
This means being the only person named on the mortgage and property deeds.
Those purchasing a property jointly will be treated as a single entity for stamp duty - so the same rules apply as for married couples.
If you buy a new home before selling your old one, you will have to pay the higher stamp duty rate.
However, you can claim this back if you sell your original home within 36 months (three years) of buying the new one. See the FAQs below for more details.
Holding financial interest in a property
It's unlikely that additional stamp duty will apply if you have inherited a small share (50% or less) in an additional property, or you hold a financial interest in one as part of a partnership or as a beneficiary of a trust.
However, there are exceptions, so you should declare any financial interests such as these to your solicitor.
Buy-to-let/second home stamp duty FAQs
When do I have to pay buy-to-let stamp duty?
Stamp duty must be paid within 30 days of buying a property. In most cases, you'll transfer the money to your solicitor, who will make the payment on the day you complete your purchase.
If I'm moving house and buy a new home before selling my current one, will I have to pay the extra stamp duty charge?
Initially, yes, but you can claim this back if you sell your original property within 36 months (three years).
If your old home was sold before 29 October 2018, you'll have to claim your refund either within 12 months from the filing date for the stamp duty return on the new home, or three months from the sale of the old home - whichever is later.
If your old home was sold after 29 October 2018, the time limit for applying for a stamp duty refund after the sale of your old home has increased to 12 months.
What counts as a 'main residence' for stamp duty purposes?
Your 'main residence' is the place that you and your family spend most of your time living in.
To determine your main residence, HMRC will look at factors including where you work, where your children go to school and where you're registered to vote.
I'm unmarried but live with my partner in a house that they solely own. I now want to buy a property in my own name. Will I have to pay the extra stamp duty charge?
As long as you're not married or in a civil partnership, you can buy a property solely in your own name without paying the surcharge.
My husband/wife owns the property that we live in together. If I buy a property solely in my name, will I have to pay the extra stamp duty charge?
Yes. Married couples are seen as one person for stamp duty purposes.
I'm buying a house in England but already own a home abroad. Will I have to pay the extra stamp duty charge?
It depends. If you already own a property in England or Northern Ireland as your main residence and are simply moving house (i.e. selling your current property and buying a new one), you won't have to pay the additional charge.
If, however, you own a property overseas and are buying your first English/Northern Irish home, you'll have to pay the surcharge as it will be counted as a second home.
Since April 2021, overseas buyers purchasing properties in England and Northern Ireland have been required to pay a 2% surcharge.
I own a property in England and want to buy a holiday home abroad. Will I have to pay the extra stamp duty charge?
Stamp duty only applies to properties in England and Northern Ireland, so you won't have to pay it when buying a home abroad.
I'm helping my child buy a property and already own my own home. Will I need to pay the additional charge?
It depends. If you're gifting your child money for a deposit or acting as a guarantor on their mortgage, you won't need to pay.
However, if your name is going on the deeds as a joint owner, you'll technically own two properties so will need to pay the surcharge.
It is now possible to get a joint borrower, sole proprietor (JBSP) mortgage where you can be named on the mortgage but not the property deeds - this would mean that you could avoid paying the surcharge.
What happens if I inherit a property?
Stamp duty isn't payable on inherited properties, but if you inherit a home and then buy another one before selling it you'll usually need to pay the stamp duty surcharge on the property you're buying.
If, however, you inherit a share of 50% or less of a property and buy your next home more than 36 months later, it won't be considered an extra property.
What if I want to buy a home that has a 'granny flat' or annex?
As long as the annex is bought in the same transaction as the main residence, is within the grounds of the main home and is worth no more than a third of the overall value of the property, you won't have to pay the extra charge.
I've split up with my partner but my name is still on the deeds. Will I need to pay the extra stamp duty when I buy a new house?
Initially, yes. When you buy the new property you'll have to pay the 3% surcharge, but you can claim this back if you sell your stake in the old property within 36 months.
What happens with paying stamp duty as a limited company?
There are no stamp duty exemptions when purchasing a buy-to-let property as a limited company.
However, if you already own a buy-to-let property and decide to set up a limited company, you'll essentially have to pay stamp duty again as you'll have to 'sell' your property to your limited company.