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HMRC extends three-year time limit for higher rate refunds of SDLT

HMRC extends three-year time limit for higher rate refunds of SDLT
Amal Shah

By Amal Shah

19 Jun 2020

The Coronavirus pandemic has had a number of unprecedented consequences, including implications for the property market, with UK house prices expected to sink in the second and third quarters of 2020 and a long road to recovery.

As lockdown measures prohibited viewings up until 15 May 2020, many homeowners were unable to complete house sales, which may have impacted Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) exposure for some sellers.

When a person buys a dwelling, they pay the 3% surcharge where the property is not the only dwelling they own. The 3% can be refunded when the new property replaces the individual’s main home and the previous main home is sold, within three years of buying the new one. However, once the three years has passed, HMRC previously had no provisions for exceptional circumstances.

HMRC has acknowledged that many homeowners will have missed their three-year deadline due to Covid-19. It has now published an ‘exceptional circumstances’ update for buyers who have purchased a new main residence and have had the sale of their old main dwelling impeded by the pandemic.

The update states that the three-year time limit will be extended and applies to those whose ‘refund window ended on or after 1 January 2020’, i.e. purchased a house on or after 1 January 2017. Affected taxpayers must make a sale as soon as practicable once the exceptional circumstances cease and need to write to HMRC with full details. A decision will be made on a case by case basis.

Click here to view the written ministerial statement.

If you feel that you may be affected by these exceptional circumstances and would like to seek property tax advice, contact Amal Shah at


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