Many would be Purchasers, forget or miscalculate, the Stamp Duty payable on their purchase, whilst working out their budget for moving, so be prepared in advance.
Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) is a purchase tax on flats, houses and other land and buildings, payable by all Buyers, but the percentage of tax applicable, will vary dependent on the purchase price. 
The price bands for the tax year 2011/2012 are as follows:

  • 0% if the purchase price is below £125,000.
  • 1% if the purchase price is between £125,001 to £250,000.
  • 3% if the purchase price is between £250,001 to £500,000.
  • 4% if the purchase price is between £500,001 to £1,000,000.
  • 5% if the purchase price is £1,000,001 upwards (introduced 6th April 2011).

It should be remembered, that the percentage rate is for the whole figure and is not tiered.  So for example, for a property at £260,000, the Stamp Duty levy of 3% is applied to the whole purchase price and not tiered to 1% on the first £250,000 and 3% on the residual.  Some feel that this is an unfair tax formula, but the Government are looking into ways of reforming the SDLT.
There is at present, a special concession for first time buyers (introduced March 25th, Budget 2010), whereby, there is a temporary relief up to £250,000, until the 25th March 2012, which is currently at a nil rate.  This relief applies to those who have never owned a home before. 
Disadvantage Area Relief, can reduce the amount of Stamp Duty payable in areas designated by the Government, as ‘disadvantaged’.  This relief is awarded in nearly 2,000 areas in the UK and is based on Local Government Wards and Electoral Divisions.  To qualify for this relief, a property (or land on which it stands) must have been situated in a qualifying area at the ‘relevant date’ (1st April 1998 in Wales).
If you know the Post Code of the property, you can check if it qualifies for Disadvantaged Area Relief, by checking with the HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) website.  Using the Post Code search tool, (visit ).
There is also a relief from SDLT, for zero carbon homes.    All qualifying houses under £500,000 are exempt and houses bought for £500,001, or above, will have their SDLT bill reduced by £15,000.
As the buyer of the property, you are responsible for completing the Land Transaction Return and paying the SDLT.  However, in practice, your Solicitor or Licensed Conveyancer, will usually handle this for you and send it to HMRC, on your behalf.

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