Stamp duty land tax and transfer of equity

Do you need to pay SDLT on Transfer

sldt transfer of equityStamp duty land tax on a purchase is a known cost for most property buyers. However, what many struggle to understand are the stamp duty land tax implications when all or part of the value of a property is transferred to them. For example, is there tax to pay if your spouse owns a property outright and wishes to gift you a half share?

These situations come under the Stamp Duty Land Tax rules entitled: Transfer of ownership of land or property.

Monetary value

The Stamp Duty Land Tax rules state that tax will need to be paid when all or part of an interest in a property is transferred and anything of monetary value is given in exchange. Giving something of monetary value in exchange is a ‘chargeable consideration’ which triggers the tax.

Chargeable consideration

A chargeable consideration does not necessarily mean that money changes hands. You could exchange property for goods, in recognition of work or services provided, or simply on the basis that you take on part of the debt.

If the chargeable consideration exceeds the Stamp Duty Land Tax threshold, tax could be due. If it does not there will be no tax to pay.

Example – under the Stamp Duty Land Tax threshold

Let’s assume we have a property worth £150,000 with a remaining mortgage of £100,000. The owner wishes to transfer a half share of the property to their partner and their partner agrees to pay cash for half of the equity (£25,000) and take responsibility for half of the outstanding mortgage (£50,000).

The chargeable consideration would be the cash paid £25,000, plus the debt liability taken on £50,000 – a total of £75,000. Since this figure is below the Stamp Duty Land Tax threshold there will be no tax to pay.

Although there is no tax to pay a Stamp Duty Land Tax return still needs to be completed.

Example – property changes hands

A couple marry and one spouse owns a property worth £600,000 with a £450,000 mortgage outstanding. The property is transferred into joint names and the new spouse takes on half of the mortgage (£225,000).

The chargeable consideration is the liability that the spouse takes on for the mortgage and that is the amount (£225,000) on which Stamp Duty Land Tax is due. Since that figure is above the

Stamp Duty Land Tax threshold, tax will be payable, in this case 2% between £125,000 and £225,000 – a bill of £2,000.

Gifting a property

If properties are transferred by way of a gift and there is no ‘consideration’, then Stamp Duty Land Tax would not apply – there is of course a potential liability to inheritance tax should the donor die within seven years.

Divorce

If you divorce (or dissolve a civil partnership) you do not pay Stamp Duty Land Tax if the property is being transferred as part of a court order or agreement. This also applies for a legal separation or if a marriage is annulled. Even if the value of the property exceeds the Stamp Duty Land Tax threshold there is nothing to pay and there is no need to tell HMRC about the transfer.

This does not apply when Partners who are not married (or in a civil partnership) separate.

Transferring in or out of a company

If land or property is transferred in or out of a limited company, tax will be due on the market value not any consideration given. This is an important issue for buy to let investors moving investment property in this way.

Further guidance on this matter can be obtained on the HMRC website.

Of course, anybody transferring ownership of land or property should speak to their legal representative about the implications in relation to Stamp Duty Land Tax.

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