Compact Services

  2003 Budget - Stamp Duty

Stamp duty is charged on certain documents which transfer property. Intellectual property is now exempt, so the main charges relate to transfers of shares and land, and the grant of a new lease. Other property transfers may also be charged. However, from 1.12.03, only transfers of land, shares or an interest in a partnership will be charged.

Charged on consideration Rate
  • shares
  • other property:
    • consideration up to £60,000
    • consideration £60,001 - £250,000
    • consideration £250,001 - £500,000
    • consideration over £500,000



The £60,000 limit is raised to £150,000 for residential property in "disadvantaged areas", and commercial properties in such areas are not charged at all. From 1.12.03 the £150,000 threshold will apply to commercial property anywhere in the UK.

Duty is charged on the total consideration, not just the excess over the threshold, and is always rounded up to the nearest £5.

Duty is also charged on the grant of a lease, as a percentage of the average annual rent due under the lease, the rates varying from 0% - 24% according to the length of the lease.

This method of calculation is to change, at a date still to be decided. The new method will calculate the duty as a percentage of the discounted present value of the total future rental payments under the lease. This change will generally increase the duty payable on leases.

There are a number of fixed duties which apply to certain types of legal document. A solicitor executing a document should advise whether it is liable to be stamped. Gifts, wills and other 'gratuitous transfers' are generally not liable to duty at all.

Documents which are liable to be stamped should be presented to the Inland Revenue Stamp Taxes Office with the payment within 30 days of their execution.