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    Climbing onto the property ladder is an exciting adventure, filled with anticipation and dreams of owning your first home. However, this journey can also be filled with new terminology that may seem foreign to first-time buyers – one such term being stamp duty – which this blog post will explore as part of our first-time buyer mortgage guide series. Here we will uncover its complexities for first-time buyers by dissecting what it is, its function in your journey towards home ownership, and any implications or considerations it might pose in acquiring your first home ownership journey!

    Unveiling Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT): What Is It?

    Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) is an essential component of purchasing property in England and Northern Ireland, and understanding its workings is critical for first-time buyers.

    Government Assistance for First-Time Buyers: Stamp Duty Relief Available Now

    Recognising the hurdles first-time buyers encounter when trying to enter the property ladder, on 22 November 2017 the UK government introduced relief on stamp duty as a solution. This can significantly lower initial costs especially related to homebuying and make homeownership a more attainable goal.

    Are You Eligible for Stamp Duty Relief? Understanding the Criteria

    Stamp duty relief is available to first-time buyers purchasing residential properties within England, Wales, and Northern Ireland for the first time. Who qualifies as a first-time buyer? Essentially anyone who has never owned any interest in residential property anywhere worldwide and plans on using this one as their main residence.

    How Does Stamp Duty Relief Work?

    On 22 November 2017 as part of their commitment to supporting first-time buyers, the UK government implemented relief on stamp duty – this relief set new stamp duty thresholds and can significantly decrease upfront costs associated and possible stamp duty exemption with home purchasing.

    Under the most recent changes announced in the mini-budget of 23 September 2022 (applicable until 31 March 2025), first-time buyers are eligible for relief on stamp duty:

    • First-time buyers of properties at a purchase price of less than £425,000 won’t have to pay stamp duty land tax (SDLT).
    • First-time buyers purchasing properties between £425,001 to £625,000 must pay SDLT at 5% on any portion that exceeds £300,000.
    • First-time buyers purchasing a residential property over £625,000 won’t qualify for first time buyer exemption and not get any relief and face a stamp duty bill at normal stamp duty rates.

    As these rates can change at any time, it’s always prudent to consult the most up-to-date regulations on the official government website or consult a property or tax professional before making decisions based on them.

    First Time Buyer Stamp Duty Calculator

    Use the below first time buyer stamp duty calculator to work out how much stamp duty you will need to pay for your property purchase. Following this, feel free to get in touch with our fee-free mortgage advisors to talk about stamp duty in relation to your property purchase and mortgage.

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    Claiming the Relief: How to Do It Right

    Claiming SDLT relief requires filing an SDLT return, with it’s important to first meet all eligibility criteria to avoid issues or penalties. Your solicitor, agent, or conveyancer typically files it on your behalf; if not then filing the return yourself may be fine if you feel confident enough. Your return must be filed and paid within 14 days from completion to avoid being subject to penalties and interest charges; so keep up with these dates as closely as possible to avoid missing them!

    How Does Relief Affect First-Time Buyers?

    Stamp duty relief for first-time buyers aims to reduce upfront costs associated with home ownership, making it more accessible for first-time buyers to get on the property ladder. As part of the government’s commitment to support home ownership and first-time buyers, this relief could make an immense difference to overall costs.

    FAQs

    First-time buyers can take advantage of stamp duty relief, whereby no stamp duty is levied on properties up to £425,000. On those exceeding this amount (up to £625,000), however, 5% SDLT applies on amounts above £425,000. Your conveyancer will submit a first time buyer code on your behalf with the stamp duty return once a home is purchased

    As per the announcement in the mini-budget of September 23rd 2022, stamp duty rates will remain the same until 31 March 2025. It is wise to review current regulations or consult a property and tax professional regarding potential changes.

    In 2023, no stamp duty is due on properties under £250,000. The next £675,000 (the portion from £250,001 to £925,000) properties are subject to 5% stamp duty land transfer tax.

    The next £575,000 (the portion from £925,001 to £1.5 million)properties are subject to 10% stamp duty land transfer tax

    The remaining amount (the portion above £1.5 million) properties are subject to 12% stamp duty land transaction tax

    First-time buyers pay no stamp duty on properties under £425,00. For properties between £425,001, and £625,000, first-time buyers pay 5% SDLT of any amount above £425,000. When purchasing properties costing more than £625,000, normal SDLT rates apply.

    If you are purchasing property with someone who isn't also first-time buyers, the first-time buyer relief won't apply - only when all buyers qualify as first-time buyers does this relief apply; otherwise you would pay stamp duty according to standard rates; it would be wise to consult a tax or property professional in this instance in order to understand how these rules impact you specifically.

    Conclusion

    As first-time buyers are important when making plans to purchase their first home, understanding stamp duty and its available relief can make the process more affordable. But to do this correctly and avoid any complications it’s essential that all eligibility criteria and claims for relief are fulfilled properly and claims made according to policy.

    As buying a home is a significant financial commitment, professional guidance should always be sought prior to making any definitive decisions. While this blog post may serve as a useful starting point, every individual’s circumstances are unique – for a thorough assessment of these rules that pertain to you specifically, always consult a property or tax expert for assistance.

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    Megan Stoyles (CeMAP)
    Megan Stoyles (CeMAP)

    Megan CeMAP is a dedicated Mortgage & Protection Adviser at YesCanDo Money. With her fresh and approachable style, she specialises in guiding clients through the mortgage process, whether they're first-time buyers, home movers, or interested in buy-to-let. Megan's passion for helping people find their dream homes and ensuring their financial security sets her apart.

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