Stamp duty is often a complicated business, and it’s hard to know when you might need to pay stamp duty and when it’s not applicable.
A straightforward buy and sell is clear, but what about when thinking about the transfer of property between spouses?
The rules depend on the circumstances of the transfer, and what the relationship is, so we’ll walk you through when you need to pay stamp duty and when you don’t.
If you transfer property due to marriage/civil partnership/live-in relationship
In this circumstance regardless of whether you’re married/in a civil partnership or not, you could still be liable for stamp duty if half of the property is legally transferred to you.
So for example – if you have a £150,000 property which includes equity and a mortgage and you transfer half to your partner as a half share of £75,000 (however that is made up; so either cash payment or mortgage), you won’t be eligible for stamp duty as £75,000 is under the threshold for stamp duty.
However, if you had a £400,000 house and you transfer half of the mortgage (or the partner pays half of the value in cash), then you would be liable for stamp duty because your £200,000 share is over the stamp duty threshold and you’d need to pay £1,500 stamp duty.
If you’re given the property as a gift
If you’re given a share of a property as a gift by your spouse, even if it’s over the threshold for stamp duty then stamp duty doesn’t usually apply.
If you transfer property as part of a divorce/dissolution of a civil partnership
You don’t pay stamp duty if you transfer property as part of a divorce/dissolution of a civil partnership or a legal separation.
You do have to be married or in a civil partnership though. Unmarried live-in couples need to pay the stamp duty on whatever cash they are given, or whatever mortgage responsibility they take on as part of the transfer if it meets stamp duty thresholds.
To calculate what stamp duty you could pay on a transfer of property between spouses, check our stamp duty calculator [http://stampcalculator.co.uk/stamp-duty-calc/] to easily get your stamp duty figure.