Transferring property to unmarried couples and other joint owners

Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) is a tax that is generally payable on the purchase or transfer of land and property in England and Northern Ireland. It is also payable in respect of certain lease premiums. You may also need to pay SDLT when all or part of an interest in land or property is transferred to you and you give anything of monetary value in exchange.

There are important issues to consider if you transfer land or property between unmarried couples and other joint owners. HMRC’s guidance on the subject states as follows:

You do not pay SDLT if 2 or more people jointly own property (as joint tenants or tenants in common) and you divide it physically and equally and own each part separately. But, if one person takes a bigger share, or all of the other’s share, and pays cash or some other consideration in exchange, you must tell HMRC. If the amount you pay is more than the current threshold, you will pay SDLT.

Joint owners (this may include unmarried couples who are splitting up) may agree that one of them will take over ownership of a property they bought together, including any outstanding mortgage.

In this case the person taking ownership will pay SDLT on the total chargeable consideration of the following (either or both), if it exceeds the SDLT threshold:

  • any cash payment that one of the couple makes to the other for their share
  • the proportion of the outstanding mortgage that belongs to the share of the property being transferred
Source: HM Revenue & Customs Tue, 15 Mar 2022 00:00:00 +0100

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