The Ultimate Guide to First Time Buyer Stamp Duty

Stamp Duty Guide for First Time Buyers

When it comes to buying property, one of the most confusing aspects can be stamp duty. 

With the amount of stamp duty tax payable changing depending on location and property type, you may be overwhelmed with the available information. 

This can be especially true for first time buyers. 

Not only do first time buyers pay different levels of tax, but they also get some stamp duty relief in most UK countries.

With this in mind, we have crafted an easy-to-understand comprehensive guide to first time buyer stamp duty. 

This guide isn’t just for first time buyers, though, with information on everything stamp duty, including a first time buyer stamp duty calculator, current stamp duty rates in every UK country, how to pay stamp duty, and much more. 

Keep reading to learn all about stamp duty for first time buyers. 

Contents

What Is Stamp Duty and How Does it Work?

What Is Stamp Duty and How Does it Work? What Is Stamp Duty and How Does it Work?

Before we get started on the current rates of stamp duty for first time buyers, let’s discuss exactly what stamp duty is. 

Stamp Duty Land Tax is a tax payable on the purchase price of a property in England and Northern Ireland. 

A similar tax is also paid in Scotland and Wales. 

However, it has a different name in both countries, being known as Land and Buildings Transaction Tax in Scotland and Land Transaction Tax in Wales. 

While the names differ, so do the rates, as each home nation has different rules in 2021, which we will address in a later section. 

Stamp Duty Land Tax or SDLT needs to be paid within 14 days of completing a property sale and needs to be paid by the party purchasing the property. 

Stamp Duty Practical Example Stamp Duty Practical Example

Ever since 2014, the UK has had a progressive stamp duty rate system. 

This means instead of paying one rate on the total purchase price, you will pay differing rates on a certain proportion of the property price. 

For example, let’s say you purchase a property for £500,000. 

Under the current tax rates as of July 2021, you will pay 0% tax on the first £250,000 (£300,000 if you’re a first time buyer) while paying 5% on the next £250,000. 

In this scenario, you would need to pay £12,500 within 14 days of purchasing your £500,000 property. 

It’s different for first time buyers, with only 5% on the next £200,000 needed, meaning only £10,000 is needed as a first time buyer. 

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It is important to note that tax rates differ for those buying additional properties in the UK that aren’t their primary residences, such as investors or landlords. 

Here, investors or landlords will typically have to pay an additional 3% charge on top of the normal SDLT rates. 

In the example provided, this would mean that instead of paying a 5% charge on the £250,000, you would need to pay 8%. 

So, as an investor, you will pay £20,000 in stamp duty land tax, while those buying a property to live as their first home would pay £10,000. 

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Stamp Duty Calculator First Time Buyer 

Looking for the easiest way to work out how much stamp duty tax you will pay on a property as a first time buyer? 

Well, look no further than our free-to-use stamp duty calculator first time buyer. 

Just enter your purchase price to get an accurate and instant review of what you can expect to pay on the property. 

As a first time buyer, stamp duty rates are slightly different, with first time buyer stamp duty tax relief being better than those buying a second home. 

So, if you’re confused, just fill in your data below to get the easiest way to calculate your tax rates with the Stamp duty calculator for first time buyers. 

First Time Buyer Stamp Duty Calculator

Stamp Duty due: £0
Effective Rate: 0%

See Full Calculation below:

Tax Brand % Taxable Sum Tax
less than £500k 0% £0 £0
£500k to £925k 5% £0 £0
£925k to £1.5m 10% £0 £0
rest over £1.5m 12% £0 £0
Stamp Duty due: £0
Effective Rate: 0%

See Full Calculation below:

Tax Brand % Taxable Sum Tax
less than £500k 3% £250,000 £7500
£500k to £925k 8% £0 £0
£925k to £1.5m 13% £0 £0
rest over £1.5m 15% £0 £0
Stamp Duty due: £0
Effective Rate: 0%

See Full Calculation below:

Tax Brand % Taxable Sum Tax
less than £500k 0% £0 £0
£500k to £925k 5% £0 £0
£925k to £1.5m 10% £0 £0
rest over £1.5m 12% £0 £0

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The Stamp Duty Holiday

Stamp Duty Holiday Stamp Duty Holiday

As of July 2021, the main stamp duty holiday has ended. 

First implemented back in July 2020, the stamp duty holiday was introduced to help promote continued investment into the UK property market during the covid-19 pandemic. 

Here, buyers could save up to £15,000 on stamp duty, with the thresholds at which you start paying the tax increasing. 

It meant that those buying a home would only pay stamp duty on property worth over £500,000, while investors would need to pay just 3% on properties up to £500,000. 

However, while it has officially ended, there are still tax cuts available in England and Northern Ireland until October, although these rates are less generous. 

Despite the smaller generosity, stamp duty land tax for first time buyers is still excellent. 

Notably, these reduced rates aren’t available in Wales and Scotland, which saw its tax holiday ending in June and April, respectively. 

Current Stamp Duty Tax Rates in England and Northern Ireland

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Stamp Duty Example: July 1 2021 to September 31 2021

Imagine that three people are looking to buy a property in August 2021 in England worth £350,000. 

One is a first time buyer, and another is buying a new home to live in after just selling their first-ever home. The last is a property investor looking to buy a property and rent it to a tenant for a profit. 

Each buyer will pay a different amount as per the latest tax rules in England. 

First up is the first time buyer. 

Under the latest rules, the stamp duty threshold for first time buyers is £300,000, compared to £250,000 for other buyers. 

This means that if a property is purchased for £350,000 by a first time buyer, only £50,000 is subject to tax. 

So, a first time buyer will pay a 5% charge on that £50,000, meaning the total stamp duty tax payable is £2,500. 

Next, we have a buyer buying a new home to live in, but they aren’t a first time buyer. 

Here, those buying a new main residence will have a stamp duty threshold of £250,000. 

This means if a buyer is purchasing a £350,000 home, the remaining £100,000 will be taxable at a 5% rate. 

Therefore, the total tax payable is £5,000 – double that of a first time buyer. 

Our final example of a property buyer under the current tax rates is a buy to let investor. 

While the thresholds for buy to let investors are the same as those buying a main residence, the tax rates aren’t. 

Those buying additional properties in England and Northern Ireland will need to pay an additional 3% charge. 

So, not only is there a 3% charge on the first £250,000 but there is also an 8% charge on the remaining £100,000. 

Therefore, buy to let investors would pay a total SDLT of £15,500 – over £10,000 more than a normal residential buyer. 

These rates get even more pricey from October, which is why it is vital to make your purchase before the deadline. 

Stamp Duty First Time Buyer UK

First up is the first time buyer. 

Under the latest rules, the stamp duty threshold for first time buyers is £300,000, compared to £250,000 for other buyers. 

This means that if a property is purchased for £350,000 by a first time buyer, only £50,000 is subject to tax. 

So, a first time buyer will pay a 5% charge on that £50,000, meaning the total stamp duty tax payable is £2,500. 

Those Buying a Main Residence in the UK

Next, we have a buyer buying a new home to live in, but they aren’t a first time buyer. 

Here, those buying a new main residence will have a stamp duty threshold of £250,000. 

This means if a buyer is purchasing a £350,000 home, the remaining £100,000 will be taxable at a 5% rate. 

Therefore, the total tax payable is £5,000 – double that of a first time buyer. 

Buy to Let Investor

Our final example of a property buyer under the current tax rates is a buy to let investor. 

While the thresholds for buy to let investors are the same as those buying a main residence, the tax rates aren’t. 

Those buying additional properties in England and Northern Ireland will need to pay an additional 3% charge. 

So, not only is there a 3% charge on the first £250,000 but there is also an 8% charge on the remaining £100,000. 

Therefore, buy to let investors would pay a total SDLT of £15,500 – over £10,000 more than a normal residential buyer. 

These rates get even more pricey from October, which is why it is vital to make your purchase before the deadline. 

Stamp Duty Example: October 1 2021 Onwards

Now that we’ve looked at an example under current rates, let’s use the same three people to see how much tax each will pay when stamp duty rates return to normal post 1 October. 

In this example, the three buyers are buying a property in November 2021 worth £350,000 in England. 

Like between 1 July and 31 September, the stamp duty threshold for first time buyers is £300,000, while for others, it is £125,000. 

So, on a property purchase, a first time buyer will only have to pay SDLT on the remaining £50,000, which is susceptible to a 5% tax rate. 

Therefore, the total SDLT payable is identical to before 1 October, with a first time buyer stamp duty charge of £2,500. 

While first time buyers will see no change on the tax of a property worth £350,000, the same cannot be said for those buying a main residence in the UK, which isn’t their first home. 

In this example, a buyer will not pay stamp duty on the initial £125,000. 

However, the buyer will pay two different tax rates for the remaining money – a 2% charge for the next £125,000 and a 5% charge for the remaining £100,000. 

This means that those buying a main residence will pay a SDLT rate of £7,500, which is £2,500 higher than from 1 July to 31 September.

Finally, a buy to let investor will pay a 3% extra charge on each threshold of the purchase. 

This means a buy to let investor will pay a 3% charge on the first £125,000 of the property, before spending a 5% charge on the next £125,000. 

Finally, there is an 8% applicable charge on the remaining £100,000. 

All in all, this means a buy to let investor buying a property post-October will pay a total of £18,000.

Stamp Duty First Time Buyer UK

Like between 1 July and 31 September, the stamp duty threshold for first time buyers is £300,000, while for others, it is £125,000. 

So, on a property purchase, a first time buyer will only have to pay SDLT on the remaining £50,000, which is susceptible to a 5% tax rate. 

Therefore, the total SDLT payable is identical to before 1 October, with a first time buyer stamp duty charge of £2,500. 

Those Buying a Main Residence in the UK

While first time buyers will see no change on the tax of a property worth £350,000, the same cannot be said for those buying a main residence in the UK, which isn’t their first home. 

In this example, a buyer will not pay stamp duty on the initial £125,000. 

However, the buyer will pay two different tax rates for the remaining money – a 2% charge for the next £125,000 and a 5% charge for the remaining £100,000. 

This means that those buying a main residence will pay a SDLT rate of £7,500, which is £2,500 higher than from 1 July to 31 September.

Buy to Let Investor

Finally, a buy to let investor will pay a 3% extra charge on each threshold of the purchase. 

This means a buy to let investor will pay a 3% charge on the first £125,000 of the property, before spending a 5% charge on the next £125,000. 

Finally, there is an 8% applicable charge on the remaining £100,000. 

All in all, this means a buy to let investor buying a property post-October will pay a total of £18,000.

With the Stamp Duty cut rates set to end in September, investors now have limited time to complete their deals and save thousands on property purchases.

Daniel Williams, RWinvest

Stamp Duty in Scotland and Wales

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How to Pay Stamp Duty?

Now that you understand current stamp duty rates and how much to expect to pay, it’s time to address paying stamp duty. 

For those buying property in England and Northern Ireland, you will have just 14 days from the date of completion to pay the stamp duty costs. 

This means from the date the contracts are signed and the keys are exchanged. 

While you can take longer to make the payment, you can face fines and extra interest, so it’s best avoided. 

It’s important to note that while your solicitor will likely sort the process for you and tell you to pay, it is your legal responsibility to pay the tax. 

Paying stamp duty and its alternatives in Scotland and Wales have different processes. 

If you want to learn the full process, read the following three sections. 

The process for paying stamp duty is quite simple. 

Firstly, you will need access to your unique transaction reference number, which is 11 characters long and found on either the online submission receipt or on the paper stamp duty return. 

After this, you can transfer the money online to HM Revenue & Customs or pay using a debit card, cheque, or cash in banks and post offices – the latter will need you to provide a payslip. 

For more details on paying stamp duty, check out the official government website. 

Paying LBTT in Scotland differs from Stamp Duty in England. 

The first major difference is you won’t be paying HM Revenue & Customs and will instead pay Revenue Scotland. 

Also, unlike England and Northern Ireland, you will have 30 days to pay your tax rather than two weeks. 

However, like in England, the process is simple. 

First, submit an online return to register the transaction on the Revenue Scotland website. 

At the end of the return, you will get a receipt with a 13-character transaction reference number. 

Then you will just need to pay the stamp duty, which you can do by phone, online, or via cheque. 

Find out how to pay LBTT in Scotland using the following link. 

Once again, the process is almost identical to the other three countries, except payments will go to the Welsh Revenue Authority. 

Like Scotland, you will also be given 30 days after completing your purchase to pay the applicable tax. 

Firstly, submit a return registering the transaction on the WRA site. 

Next, find your unique transaction reference number that will be sent to you after the WRA processes your return. 

Then, like the other countries in the UK, you can pay with your phone, online, or via cheque (although this is limited right now due to covid). 

For more information, check out the Welsh government website to learn how to pay LTT. 

Paying Stamp Duty in England and Northern Ireland

The process for paying stamp duty is quite simple. 

Firstly, you will need access to your unique transaction reference number, which is 11 characters long and found on either the online submission receipt or on the paper stamp duty return. 

After this, you can transfer the money online to HM Revenue & Customs or pay using a debit card, cheque, or cash in banks and post offices – the latter will need you to provide a payslip. 

For more details on paying stamp duty, check out the official government website. 

Paying Land and Buildings Transaction Tax in Scotland

Paying LBTT in Scotland differs from Stamp Duty in England. 

The first major difference is you won’t be paying HM Revenue & Customs and will instead pay Revenue Scotland. 

Also, unlike England and Northern Ireland, you will have 30 days to pay your tax rather than two weeks. 

However, like in England, the process is simple. 

First, submit an online return to register the transaction on the Revenue Scotland website. 

At the end of the return, you will get a receipt with a 13-character transaction reference number. 

Then you will just need to pay the stamp duty, which you can do by phone, online, or via cheque. 

Find out how to pay LBTT in Scotland using the following link. 

Paying Land Transaction Tax in Wales

Once again, the process is almost identical to the other three countries, except payments will go to the Welsh Revenue Authority. 

Like Scotland, you will also be given 30 days after completing your purchase to pay the applicable tax. 

Firstly, submit a return registering the transaction on the WRA site. 

Next, find your unique transaction reference number that will be sent to you after the WRA processes your return. 

Then, like the other countries in the UK, you can pay with your phone, online, or via cheque (although this is limited right now due to covid). 

For more information, check out the Welsh government website to learn how to pay LTT. 

Can You Use Your Mortgage to Pay Stamp Duty?

Can You Use Your Mortgage to Pay Stamp Duty? Can You Use Your Mortgage to Pay Stamp Duty?

As we’ve seen in some of our example calculations, stamp duty can get pricey depending on the purchase price. 

If you don’t have the money to hand, you may be wondering whether you can use or extend your mortgage to cover the costs of stamp duty. 

While the simple answer is yes, it can muddy the waters somewhat if you opt for this route. 

The first thing to realise is you will obviously require a bigger loan, which means more debt. 

 For instance, if you need an extra £5,000 on a 5% interest mortgage on a 25-year term, you could pay an additional £8,500 through interest. 

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Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, this extra loan can impact your loan-to-value. 

LTV is the measurement of how much of a property’s value you intend to borrow. 

Usually, an LTV of 60% is required to get the best mortgage deals. However, if you loan more money, this can increase your LTV. 

This guide isn’t financial advice, and your circumstances may be very different. 

For this reason, be sure to speak to a mortgage broker or adviser to ensure you make the right decision for your own situation. 

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FAQ’s

Many people ask, “do you pay stamp duty as a first time buyer?” or “is there a stamp duty exemption for a first time buyer?” 

Well, the answer is yes, first time buyers still pay stamp duty. However, as a first time buyer, the threshold needed to pay for stamp duty is higher, meaning you will likely save money. For instance, in England, you don’t have to pay stamp duty tax on a property under £300,000, while other buyers will have a threshold of £250,000. 

Notably, you don’t have any first time buyer stamp duty relief in Wales. 

The price of stamp duty in the UK depends on the purchase price of a property and what you are purchasing the property for. If you are buying a property to rent to others, or as a non-main residence, you will pay higher rates than a residential buyer. 

In England and Northern Ireland, you have 14 days to pay stamp duty after you have completed your property purchase and got the keys. In Scotland and Wales, you have 30 days. 

Yes, you will need to pay stamp duty if the value of a property exceeds £250,000 in England and Northern Ireland. For first time buyers, this figure is higher at £300,000. 

With the average property price valued at £250,772 in the UK, according to the Land Registry, you may have to pay a small amount of Stamp Duty tax. 

You have to pay stamp duty tax within 14 days of completing your property purchase in England and Northern Ireland. This increases to 30 days if you bought a property in Scotland or Wales. 

Anyone purchasing a property in the UK is liable to pay stamp duty if the property value exceeds a certain threshold. In England and Northern Ireland, this threshold is £250,000, or £300,000 if you’re a first time buyer. 

In Wales, this threshold is £180,000. Whereas, in Scotland, the threshold is £145,000, or £175,000 if you’re a first time buyer. 

So, is stamp duty free for first time buyers? 

The answer is no, stamp duty isn’t completely free for first time buyers. 

However, if you are a first time home buyer, stamp duty starts at a higher threshold of £300,000. 

This means stamp duty is free if you buy a property below £300,000. 

Do First Time Buyers Pay Stamp Duty?

Many people ask, “do you pay stamp duty as a first time buyer?” or “is there a stamp duty exemption for a first time buyer?” 

Well, the answer is yes, first time buyers still pay stamp duty. However, as a first time buyer, the threshold needed to pay for stamp duty is higher, meaning you will likely save money. For instance, in England, you don’t have to pay stamp duty tax on a property under £300,000, while other buyers will have a threshold of £250,000. 

Notably, you don’t have any first time buyer stamp duty relief in Wales. 

How Much Is Stamp Duty in the UK?

The price of stamp duty in the UK depends on the purchase price of a property and what you are purchasing the property for. If you are buying a property to rent to others, or as a non-main residence, you will pay higher rates than a residential buyer. 

When Is Stamp Duty Paid on a House Purchase?

In England and Northern Ireland, you have 14 days to pay stamp duty after you have completed your property purchase and got the keys. In Scotland and Wales, you have 30 days. 

Do I Need to Pay Stamp Duty?

Yes, you will need to pay stamp duty if the value of a property exceeds £250,000 in England and Northern Ireland. For first time buyers, this figure is higher at £300,000. 

With the average property price valued at £250,772 in the UK, according to the Land Registry, you may have to pay a small amount of Stamp Duty tax. 

When Do You Have to Pay Stamp Duty?

You have to pay stamp duty tax within 14 days of completing your property purchase in England and Northern Ireland. This increases to 30 days if you bought a property in Scotland or Wales. 

Who Pays Stamp Duty?

Anyone purchasing a property in the UK is liable to pay stamp duty if the property value exceeds a certain threshold. In England and Northern Ireland, this threshold is £250,000, or £300,000 if you’re a first time buyer. 

In Wales, this threshold is £180,000. Whereas, in Scotland, the threshold is £145,000, or £175,000 if you’re a first time buyer. 

Is Stamp Duty Free for First Time Buyers?

So, is stamp duty free for first time buyers? 

The answer is no, stamp duty isn’t completely free for first time buyers. 

However, if you are a first time home buyer, stamp duty starts at a higher threshold of £300,000. 

This means stamp duty is free if you buy a property below £300,000. 

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We hope you enjoyed our ultimate guide to first time buyer stamp duty! 

If you want to learn more about the world of stamp duty, be sure to check out our latest stamp duty guide. 

Alternatively, we also have in-depth guides on taxes involved with buying property so you are completely ready to invest in the property world. 

Speaking of investing, if you want to make property a career, why not consider buying property with RWinvest? 

We are an award-winning property investment company with over 17 years experience in residential and student property. 

If you’ve never considered property investment but want to learn more, just click the blue chat bubble in the bottom right of the page and speak to one of our property advisers to learn more. 

Disclaimer: The following guide was produced for informational purposes and is not financial advice. For advice, be sure to speak to a financial expert to learn more. 

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