If you have any questions about how Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) affects a transaction you're involved in, the Stamp Office should be able to answer them.
You'll find answers to most questions in the guidance published by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) on their website. It's best to read this guidance, including the Stamp Duty Land Tax Manual, but if you are still unsure you can contact the Stamp Taxes Helpline.
If the helpline is unable to answer your question you will be asked to put it in writing and the Stamp Office will provide advice on the point you raised.
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If you're unsure about how the SDLT rules apply to a land or property transaction you're dealing with, the first thing to do is to read the guidance on the HMRC website. This includes the Stamp Duty Land Tax Manual that HMRC staff use, so you'll find that it will usually answer your question.
If you've read all the guidance but you're still unclear about how SDLT applies to the transaction you're dealing with, you can call the Stamp Taxes helpline. If they can't answer your question they will advise you to write in to seek clarification. This means that you can ask the HMRC Stamp Taxes Office for their written advice about how SDLT applies to the transaction.
HMRC will either agree with your view of the law, or advise you what you should do to deal with SDLT correctly. You'll normally be able to rely on the advice you get from HMRC as long as:
Advice given by HMRC for one particular transaction is not applicable for other transactions, however similar in nature.
When you ask for written advice the information you'll need to provide will vary depending on the transaction. You'll normally need to provide information about:
HMRC's main responsibility is to collect the right amount of tax. So there will be some situations when they won't be bound by the advice they give you. For example, this would be the case if:
There are situations where you can't use the service to ask for HMRC's written advice, including:
It's best to try to get advice on an SDLT question before the transaction goes ahead. The easiest way to apply is to call the Stamp Taxes Helpline. They may be able to answer your question satisfactorily over the phone. But if they can't, they'll explain how to apply for written advice.
You can also apply for advice after the transaction date. The Stamp Taxes Office aims to provide a response to written enquiries within 28 days of receipt, but this could leave a tight deadline for sending in your return and paying any tax due. And if they ask for more information to help them consider the point you've raised, you may not get any decision before the filing and payment deadline.
If you've completed the transaction and have asked for written advice but don't get a response in time, you can't delay sending in your SDLT return or paying the tax due just because you've asked for guidance. You'll have to file your return and pay the tax based on what you think the correct position is. When this has been clarified, you can amend your return if necessary. You'll have to pay interest on any tax you pay late if your view was incorrect. But HMRC will pay interest on any tax repaid to you if it turns out you paid too much tax.
HMRC offers the written advice service to help you understand what you have to do to deal with Stamp Duty Land Tax correctly. You can't appeal against their advice, but you don't have to follow it when you file your return and pay any SDLT due. If HMRC doesn't agree with your view of the law, you can use the normal appeals process to get an independent decision.
If you have already filed your return it is still possible to obtain advice so long as you do so no later than nine months from the date you filed your return. Call the Stamp Taxes helpline for guidance.
If your query arises more than nine months after you have filed your return, the written advice service is not available. However, you can amend your return up to 12 months after the filing date. For information about how to amend your SDLT return read our guide below.