The time the UK allows a purchaser for filing a Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) return and paying any tax due to HM Revenue and Customs is about to decrease substantially. Where the “effective date” of a transaction is on or after 1 March 2019, purchasers will have 14 calendar days to both file a return and pay any tax. A later filing and/or payment will result in penalties being due and interest becoming payable.

The “effective date” of a transaction is usually the date of completion, but this is not always the case. If a contract is “substantially performed” before the completion date, then the effective date will occur earlier, on the date of substantial performance. Substantial performance is decided on a case-by-case basis but will be triggered by a purchaser taking possession of a property, or paying the whole or a substantial amount of the consideration due before the completion date.

Please take note of this change and make sure SDLT is top priority post-completion to avoid any nasty surprises.