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Understanding Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) for Non-UK Residents

Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) is a tax that you pay when you buy a property in the UK. For non-UK residents, there are additional rules and surcharges that you need to be aware of. Here, we’ll explain these rules clearly, with examples, so you understand what to expect and how to manage your tax liability.

Key Points to Remember:

  1. Non-UK Resident Surcharge: If you are a non-UK resident buying a property, you must pay an additional 2% SDLT surcharge.
  2. Reclaiming the Surcharge: You can reclaim this 2% surcharge if you move to the UK and become a UK taxpayer, but only if the property you bought is your main home.
  3. Investment Properties: If you buy an investment property or an additional property, you cannot reclaim the 2% surcharge.
  4. Condition-Based Reclaim: If the property was not habitable when you bought it, you might be able to reduce your SDLT by reclaiming overpaid tax based on the property’s condition.

Examples and Detailed Explanation

1. Buying a Home to Live In:

  • If you buy a home in the UK where you will live, you will have to pay the 2% surcharge because you are a non-UK resident at the time of purchase.
  • Example: You buy a property for £500,000. The additional 2% surcharge means you will pay an extra £10,000 in SDLT (2% of £500,000).
  • If you later move to the UK and become a UK taxpayer, you can apply to reclaim this £10,000.

2. Buying an Investment Property or Additional Property:

  • If you buy a property to rent out or as an additional property, you will pay higher rates of SDLT. This includes the 3% higher rate for additional properties and the 2% non-UK resident surcharge.
  • Example: You buy an investment property for £150,000. You pay a 3% higher rate, which is £4,500, plus the 2% surcharge, which is £3,000. So, you pay a total of £7,500 in SDLT (3% + 2% of £150,000).

3. Reclaiming SDLT Based on Property Condition:

  • If the property you bought was not habitable at the time of purchase, you might be able to reclaim some of the SDLT you paid.
  • A property is considered uninhabitable if it has serious condition hazards that make it unsuitable for living.
  • Example: You buy a buy-to-let property for £150,000. The total SDLT paid is £7,500. If the property was uninhabitable, you might be able to reclaim this amount because it should not have been assessed as a residential property at the time of purchase.

Steps to Reclaim Overpaid SDLT

  1. Assess Property Condition: Check if the property had serious condition hazards that made it uninhabitable at the time of purchase.
  2. Gather Evidence: Collect evidence such as property surveys, photographs, and renovation receipts.
  3. Submit a Claim: Contact HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to submit your claim with the evidence. If your claim is valid, you could get a refund for the overpaid SDLT.


Understanding and managing SDLT for non-UK residents can be complex, but knowing these key points and examples can help. Remember, you can reclaim the 2% surcharge if you move to the UK and the property is your main home. For investment properties, focus on the property’s condition to potentially reduce your SDLT liability. Always keep thorough records and evidence to support any claims you make.

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