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180,000 first-time buyers benefit from stamp duty cut

According to the latest figures from HM Revenue & Customs, 141,100 first-time buyers have bought properties without having to pay stamp duty, and a further 39,400 have paid a discounted rate in the year since first-time buyers relief was introduced.

Stamp duty is the tax you pay when buying properties above a certain value – £125,000 in England and Northern Ireland. It was scrapped for most first-time buyers in November 2017 as part of first-time buyers relief.

Since then, HMRC says over 180,500 buyers have received the tax relief, together saving an estimated £426 million.

In the latest Budget published last month, stamp duty relief was extended to first-time buyers who use shared ownership schemes – and this extra relief is also being applied retrospectively to transactions made since 22 November 2017.

See our Stamp Duty Calculator for more info on how stamp duty land tax works and how much you should be paying.

Who can get first-time buyers' stamp duty relief?

In order to qualify for first-time buyers' stamp duty relief under the new rules, which came into effect on 22 November 2017, the following conditions must be met:

  • You, and everyone you're buying with, must have never had an interest in a residential property anywhere in the world. Whether it was bought or inherited.

  • You must be buying a property in England or Northern Ireland. The rules are different in Scotland and Wales – you'll pay land and buildings transactions tax in Scotland and land transaction tax in Wales.

    There's no first-time buyer relief in Wales, but if you're buying your first property in Scotland your zero-tax threshold will be raised from £145,000 to £175,000.

  • You must be buying the property to use as your main residence.

  • The purchase price of the property must be less than £500,000.

Depending on how much your property costs, you'll either pay a reduced rate or no stamp duty at all:

  • If the property costs less than £300,000, you're exempt from stamp duty and won't pay anything.

  • If the property costs between £300,000 and £500,000, you'll pay stamp duty at 5% of the amount over £300,000.

I completed on a shared ownership property after 22 November 2017 – how do I reclaim?

Stamp duty relief was extended to first-time buyers using shared ownership schemes as part of the 2018 Budget, and eligible buyers who completed a purchase since 22 November 2017 can retrospectively claim any stamp duty they wouldn't have paid under the new rules.

You can claim a stamp duty refund within four years of buying your property. You'll need to write to the Stamp Duty Land Tax Office. For full information, visit the HMRC website.

What does the Government say?

Financial Secretary to the Treasury Mel Stride said: "These statistics show that the Government was right to offer a helping hand to first-time buyers.

"Without this investment, more than 180,500 new homeowners may have struggled to get onto the property ladder. Maintaining the status quo was not an option."

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