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  • Stamp Duty reliefs or exemptions and how to apply

Stamp Duty reliefs or exemptions and how to apply

In some situations you don't have to pay Stamp Duty on paper transfers of shares. This is because either the transaction is exempt, the consideration you give is not chargeable consideration or because you can get Stamp Duty relief.

If the transfer is exempt or the consideration you give is not chargeable consideration there’s no Stamp Duty to pay and you don't need to tell HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) about it.

In some other circumstances you must notify HMRC but you can claim a relief so you don't have to pay Stamp Duty.

This guide explains what to do if a transfer of shares is exempt from Stamp Duty. It also tells you how to claim a relief. It doesn't cover exemptions and reliefs for Stamp Duty Reserve Tax or Stamp Duty Land Tax - but it does provide links to guidance on this.

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Transfers that are exempt from Stamp Duty

Usually you pay Stamp Duty when you buy shares using a paper method.

Some shares that you acquire are exempt from Stamp Duty because no consideration is given for them, others are exempt because of a specific exemption.

If you do not give any consideration for a transfer no Stamp Duty is payable. Some examples include:

  • shares that you receive as a gift and that you don't pay anything for (either money or some other consideration)
  • shares that your spouse or civil partner transfers to you when you marry or enter into a civil partnership
  • shares held in trust that are transferred from one trustee to another
  • transfers that a liquidator makes as settlement to shareholders when a business is wound up
  • shares transferred to you as security for a loan
  • shares held as security for a loan that are transferred back to you when you repay the loan
  • transfer to the beneficiaries of a trust when the trust is being wound up

There are specific exemptions in legislation for the following:

  • shares that someone leaves to you in their will
  • shares transferred to you when you get divorced, or when your civil partnership is dissolved
  • certain types of loan capital

If a transfer of shares is exempt from Stamp Duty:

  • the transfer document doesn't need to be stamped
  • you don't need to send the documents to HMRC
  • there's no Stamp Duty to pay

However where chargeable consideration of over £1,000 is given for a transfer for which a specific exemption exists you will need to complete the second exemption certificate on the back of the stock transfer form.

Enquiries about Stamp Duty exemptions

If you're not sure whether your transaction is exempt from Stamp Duty, you can contact the HMRC Stamp Taxes Helpline.

Contact the Stamp Taxes Helpline

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Required action if the transfer is exempt

Transfers of stocks and shares

You'll need to complete a stock transfer form showing details of the transaction - including the certificate on the back of the form if you give any consideration for the shares. You can buy a paper form from a legal stationer or download a copy from the internet. Send the completed form to the company registrar - you don't need to send it to HMRC first.

Completing certificates on a stock transfer form

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Transfers that qualify for Stamp Duty relief

There are some transfers that qualify for relief to reduce the amount of Stamp Duty due - to nil in most cases. But you'll still need to get the transfer document stamped.

The following are some of the most common reliefs you can claim:

  • intra-group relief - for transfers of land or shares between companies in the same group, so long as certain conditions are met - for more detailed guidance follow the link at the end of the section
  • acquisition relief - when one company acquires all the shares in another company but the same people own both companies
  • reconstruction relief - there's no Stamp Duty to pay when all or part of a company's trade is transferred, so long as certain conditions are met
  • sales to intermediaries - there's no Stamp Duty to pay when stock is transferred to a recognised intermediary
  • repurchases and stock lending - there's no Stamp Duty to pay if transfers of stock meet certain conditions
  • transfers to charities - there's no Stamp Duty to pay so long as certain conditions are met

This isn't an exhaustive list of the Stamp Duty reliefs available. You can find out more about the reliefs you can claim in Chapter 6 of the HMRC publication 'Stamp Taxes Manual'.

Download the Stamp Taxes Manual (PDF 2.2MB)

Read more detailed guidance on intra-group relief

Enquiries about Stamp Duty relief

If you need help in deciding whether you can claim a Stamp Duty relief you can contact the HMRC Stamp Taxes Helpline.

Contact the Stamp Taxes Helpline

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How to claim Stamp Duty relief

If you want to claim a relief from paying Stamp Duty, you'll need to write to HMRC Birmingham Stamp Office explaining why you want to claim it. Enclose all the relevant transfer documents with your letter.

If HMRC confirms that the relief is due, they'll stamp your documents with a non-chargeable adjudication stamp.

If HMRC tells you that relief is not due, you'll need to pay the appropriate amount of stamp duty so that the transfer document can be stamped.

If you don't claim the relief you'll have to pay the Stamp Duty in full.

Birmingham Stamp office contact details

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Stamp Duty Reserve Tax and Stamp Duty Land Tax reliefs and exemptions

Follow the links below to find out more about:

  • Stamp Duty Reserve Tax reliefs and exemptions on electronic and paperless stock transactions
  • Stamp Duty Land Tax reliefs and exemptions for land transfers made after December 2003

Stamp Duty Reserve Tax reliefs and exemptions

Stamp Duty Land Tax reliefs and exemptions

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