Completing the paper SDLT return

From 1 October 2014: if you file a return on paper (form SDLT1, 3 and 4), you must enter a valid Local Authority code. Returns which do not include a valid code will be rejected.

Although you can choose to file a paper Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) return, most SDLT returns are filed online. This method is more secure, efficient and convenient than sending in a paper return.

To find out more about filing online you can link to guide 'The benefits of filing SDLT returns online' under 'More useful links' below.

If you still prefer to send in a paper return this guide provides an overview of the key forms and the steps you'll need to take, as well as how to avoid common mistakes.

On this page:

Completing the main Land Transaction Return (SDLT1)

For most straightforward cases, such as simple residential conveyances, the SDLT1 is all you'll need. You send the completed SDLT1 to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), together with payment of any SDLT that's due on the transaction. No other paperwork is needed.

For more complicated transactions you may need to complete additional forms.

Note that each SDLT1 form has its own Unique Transaction Reference Number printed on it, so you can only use it for that particular transaction. You can't use photocopies of the SDLT return for different transactions. Follow the link below to the SDLT1 guidance notes to help you complete the paper return and forms.

SDLT1 guidance notes (PDF 127K)


Transactions that require additional forms

In some cases you may have to complete extra forms as well as the SDLT return. The additional forms you may need to complete are:

  • SDLT2 where there are either more than two purchasers or more than 2 sellers
  • SDLT3 where either more than one property is purchased or where only 1 property is purchased but you can't fit all the address details into the space provided on the SDLT1 form
  • SDLT4 where there's a complex lease, multiple grants of lease or a complex commercial transaction. This is explained in more detail below.

Ordering the additional forms

You can order forms SDLT2, SDLT3 and SDLT4:

  • online, by completing and submitting the online order form
  • by post, using the online order form
  • by telephoning the HMRC orderline

Ordering SDLT forms online is quick and efficient. There's no telephone waiting time and the forms are pre-packed ready for sending out.

Order your SDLT forms online

Get telephone contact details to place an order

Completing form SDLT 2 - more than two purchasers or vendors

When there are more than 2 purchasers or vendors you'll need to complete a separate form SDLT2 to give details of additional vendors or purchasers. If the number of additional vendors or purchasers combined is more than 99 you need to complete a schedule for the remainder. The schedule should include all the details requested on form SDLT2.

Completing form SDLT 3 - more than one property

When the transaction involves more than one property you'll need to complete form SDLT1 and a form SDLT3 for each additional property. If there are more than 100 properties in total you'll need to complete a schedule for the remainder. The schedule should include all the details requested on form SDLT3.

Completing form SDLT4 - complex leases, commercial transactions and some residential situations

You'll have to complete form SDLT4 as well as form SDLT1 if any of the following applies:

  • the land or property transaction is part of a business sale agreement
  • the purchaser is a company
  • If you've asked HMRC for advice on how the law applies to the transaction, using Clearances and Approvals 1 (CAP1), or another route
  • any part of the consideration is contingent or uncertain
  • arrangements have been made with HMRC under the deferment provisions
  • there are mineral rights reserved

Find out more about deferment provisions in the SDLT manual

You should also check to see if you'll need to complete this form if the transaction:

  • is the grant of a new lease - or in Scotland, exchange of missives of let
  • relates to the grant of multiple leases

You'll need to complete an additional form for each lease. If the transaction involves more than 100 properties you'll also need to provide a schedule for the remaining properties. The schedule should include all the details requested on form SDLT4.

Follow the link below for the SDLT4 guidance notes to help you to complete the SDLT4 form.

SDLT4 guidance notes (PDF 49K)


How to avoid mistakes and delays when completing the paper return

When HMRC receives your SDLT return they'll check to make sure the information you've provided is clear, correct and complete. If anything's missing, wrong or unclear, they'll write to you using form SDLT8 - Request for Further Information.

Note that HMRC can't issue an SDLT Certificate until you've provided the correct or missing information.

(By comparison, if you file online, the system won't let you submit the return until it's correct and complete. This means you avoid the risk of missed filing deadlines, and penalties and late payment charges that can happen if you make a mistake on a paper return.)

Some dos and don'ts when completing a paper SDLT return

You can help make sure your return is processed quickly by following the suggestions below.


  • enter a valid Local Authority code in box 29
  • use black ink and write clearly in block capitals - 80% of errors are caused by the scanner misreading faint or illegible information
  • put the effective date in box 4 of form SDLT1 - this is normally the completion date
  • enter the total consideration payable in box 10 (this box does not apply to the grant of a new lease) - you'll find more about how to work out chargeable consideration in the section below on getting more help with completing the paper return and forms
  • check that the tax you pay with your return agrees with the amount of tax you've indicated is due in box 14
  • make sure that all the purchasers sign the return
  • make sure that when you pay the tax you use the Unique Transaction Reference Number printed on the payslip attached to the SDLT return
  • make sure the section about the purchaser is completed correctly - boxes 49, 50 and 51


  • overwrite or use correction fluid if you make a mistake - if you make a mistake you should complete a new form
  • write 'nil', 'n/a' or 'none' in boxes with a £ sign in front of them ' you can get help with these boxes in the section below on getting more help with completing the paper return and forms
  • strike through pages, sections or boxes that aren't relevant to your transaction - just leave them blank
  • complete any other part of box 9 or box 13 if you answer 'no' to either of these questions
  • enter part of a postcode in the postcode boxes. Please either search on the Royal Mail website (link below) or call the Postcode Helpline on Tel 0845 711 1222 or (if necessary) leave the postcode blank

Find a postcode on the Royal Mail website (Opens new window)

Find out more about working out the chargeable consideration


When and where to send the return

To allow for possible postal delays (for which HMRC is not responsible) please allow at least 3 working days for your return to reach HMRC.

You must send HMRC your SDLT return and any tax due within 30 days of the effective date of the transaction to:

HM Revenue & Customs
L30 4RN

Or you can send it using DX to:

Rapid Data Capture Centre
Bootle 9

Note you should not enclose any other correspondence with the SDLT return as this will need to be referred elsewhere and may delay the issue of form SDLT5 'Revenue certificate'.

You should send any other correspondence you have to the Birmingham Stamp Office.

Get contact details for the Birmingham Stamp Office


Using the paper return reference number for queries and payments

You'll find the Unique Transaction Reference Number for the transaction in the 'Reference' box on the payslip. You must keep this safe because:

  • you'll need it to pay your SDLT
  • HMRC Stamp Taxes will need it to recognise and trace your SDLT return and payment if you have a query

Using the right reference number for payments

Even if you don't file your SDLT return online and you file a paper return instead, it's still best to pay the SDLT electronically using the reference number shown on the payslip.

If you do pay by cheque, make sure you send it with the payslip from the relevant return - you can't use the payslip from one return to pay the tax for another return.

If HMRC can't match your cheque with the correct SDLT return you might have to pay interest.

Find out more about how to pay Stamp Duty Land Tax

Find out more about SDLT filing and payment deadlines


More useful links

The benefits of filing SDLT returns online