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Application of the 3% higher rates of SDLT for joint purchasers


Martin and Sarah are getting married in the summer of 2021 but plan to purchase their new family home this year.

Martin is divorced and, as part of the divorce proceedings, disposed of his interest in the matrimonial home to his ex-wife in March 2018. He also owns a buy-to-let property in his sole name.

Sarah has never owned her own main residence but did inherit a property from her grandmother 10 years ago (current market value £150,000), which she holds as an investment property and which is currently rented out.

The couple currently live in rented accommodation.


The higher rates of SDLT will apply to a purchase of a single dwelling where all conditions A-D listed in the legislation are met.Where a transaction is entered into by joint purchasers the higher rates will apply if the transaction would be a higher rates transaction for any of the purchasers considered individually.

Accordingly, if there are two individual purchasers and Conditions A to D are all met for one of them only, the transaction will be charged at the higher rates.

Martin will satisfy Conditions A-C. However, as Martin has disposed of his interest in a main residence (which he lived in at some point during the 3 years before the purchase of the new property), he will not satisfy Condition D.

Accordingly, if considering Martin’s circumstances in isolation, the 3% higher rates would not apply.

Sarah will satisfy Condition A & B and also Condition C as she has an interest in a dwelling valued over £40,000. As she has never owned a main residence, she will satisfy Condition D because she will not have made a disposal of a main residence.

Therefore, even though the higher rates do not apply to Martin’s circumstances, the entire transaction will nevertheless be treated as a higher rate transaction by virtue of Sarah’s circumstances.

Accordingly the 3% higher rates will be applied to the total purchase price of the new property.

SDLT is becoming increasingly complex. If in doubt, seek professional advice.

If you have any queries around SDLT please do not hesitate to get in contact via our SDLT Advisory Service.

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