It was Wednesday, 25th November 2015 when George Osborne last delivered the budget in his Autumn Statement. On Wednesday, 16th March, he stepped up to the despatch box to deliver the UK Budget 2016, in which we expected him to clarify a few details about the increase in SDLT (Stamp Duty Land Tax) – and so he did.
What was announced?
Firstly, it was confirmed that the new 3% hike in the SDLT rate for all additional residential properties will be coming into effect as of Friday, 1st April.
Up until 16th March, it had been unclear if this would also apply to large-scale investors in buy-to-let properties – those with more than 15 properties on their books. The Chancellor announced that the rate would be extended to these investors, which came as a shock to those who thought George Osborne may stick to his suggestion from the Autumn Statement that they would be exempt. It will also come as a surprise to those who thought he might perform a U-turn in response to fears of a possible exodus of buy-to-let landlords.
There was some reassurance for commercial property owners, who discovered that SDLT for commercial property will fall into the lower bands – with properties worth up to £150,000 attracting a zero rate. This specific change came into effect at midnight following the Chancellor’s budget announcement.