Up to 300,000 homeowners who bought a property in a "disadvantaged" area over the past decade could reclaim up to £1,500 in stamp duty, MoneySavingExpert.com can reveal. But the deadline to claim is 5 May so take urgent action.

In a nutshell, those who paid £150,000 or less for their home between 1 December 2003 and 5 April 2013 in what were deemed to be "disadvantaged" areas of which there were 2,000 spread UK-wide, are eligible.

If you successfully claim a stamp duty rebate, please let us know by commenting on our forum via the link at the bottom of this news story.

Here are the key points.

  • To check if you can claim, these HMRC links contain a full list of "disadvantaged" areas in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland at the time they were first defined. Another way to search is using HMRC's postcode search to find eligible parts of the UK. Given area boundaries may have changed over the past few years, ask your local council if you're unsure.

  • Those eligible to claim would have paid 1% tax on their purchase in stamp duty. So if they paid £100,000 they are due £1,000 back. If they paid £150,000 they are due £1,500.

  • HMRC says about 30,000 people a year bought a property in a "disadvantaged" area, meaning up to 300,000 could claim. HMRC can't tell us how many incorrectly paid stamp duty.

  • You don't pay stamp duty on residential properties costing £125,000 or less at present, though this threshold has been as low as £60,000 over the past decade. See HMRC's stamp duty page for a list of thresholds over the 10-year period in question.

  • Even if you let out your property, you can claim, if you meet the other eligibility criteria.

  • The overpayment was usually due to a lack of awareness of the tax-break.

MoneySavingExpert.com managing editor, Guy Anker, says: "This is a massive amount of money so don't let it go to waste if you even think you may be eligible. Urgently check now, and claim what's rightfully yours."

How do I claim?

All claims must be made on or before 5 May 2014. In order to make a claim you will need to write to HMRC at:

HM Revenue & Customs,
Birmingham Stamp Office
9th floor City Centre House
30 Union Street
West Midlands
B2 4AR

You will need to enclose a copy of your original Stamp Duty Land Tax return or if you don't have that, the 'unique transaction reference number' (UTRN) from the return. Your conveyancer should have submitted this return within 30 days of the date on which you completed the purchase.

You'll also need to explain why you think you've paid too much, say which parts of the return were wrong and tell HMRC how much stamp duty you paid. For more details, see HMRC's info on Claiming Refunds.

If you need to speak to HMRC about your return, see its contact page for details on how to do so.

When will I get my money back?

HMRC says your money will be returned "within a matter of weeks" by cheque form or bank transfer.

A 'no win, no fee' firm's approached me to say it can get me a stamp duty refund. Should I go with it?

No! You can reclaim the stamp duty yourself, easily and for free. See how other people are getting on with their claims in the Stamp Duty Refund forum discussion thread and do post your feedback too.

How can I check whether I paid stamp duty in the first place?

You should check if you have a copy of the Stamp Duty Land Tax return, which you would have sent when you bought the property. This form should have a UTRN that should allow HMRC to check your records.

If you don't have this, check if you've got a receipt for the payment. It's also worth contacting your conveyancer as they often submit the forms on your behalf.

What if I've since sold the property?

You can still make a claim. You can even still claim if the property's since been knocked down.

Does it matter if I am the leaseholder, shareholder or freeholder?

It makes no difference.

I live above a shop. What about mixed-use properties?

If you bought the whole property on or after 17 March 2005, you can only claim on the amount you paid for the residential part, if this is below £150,000.

I bought a business property. Can I claim?

The relief is for residential properties only.

If you work from home you can still claim, provided the property was residential when you bought it.

What if I bought land within an eligible zone?

Development land is treated as non-residential, so if you bought land and subsequently built a house on it you cannot claim.