Client: Property development company

Geographic location: Hazel Grove, Cheshire

SDLT refund: £8,300 plus interest

Established in 2013, this property development client was keen to expand its portfolio of residencies for refurbishment across the North West. Having purchased this home through a limited company and priced above the £125,000 threshold for paying Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT), the developer was forced to pay a 3% surcharge on the usual residential rates, which amounted to a total of £10,800.

The property, however, was uninhabitable. There was no gas supply connected to the dwelling, meaning there was no form of central heating, whilst the electrics were also deemed unsafe for electrical heaters. The floor joists and boards, which had rotted away, had to be replaced due to excessive damp and there was asbestos content within the structure.

The Government introduced its Stamp Duty surcharge on top of the basic SDLT liability placed on additional homes in April 2016. However, in 2019, a landmark case saw clarification on this policy, specifically for uninhabitable properties such as the one purchased by our client.

Champion was appointed to support the client throughout their refund process after the national rule change came into force.

To make the process as easy as possible, we undertook a comprehensive, upfront research phase to gather all the necessary information required to submit to HMRC and then took charge of the application on our client’s behalf. From start to finish, the process took just over three months and as we were able to ensure standard non-residential rates were applied to the transaction, we secured our client a refund of £8,300 plus interest. Our client has since used this cash refund to invest in another property.

David Herd, senior tax advisory consultant in our Manchester office, said: “This is an element of Stamp Duty about which very little is known, and for developers and investors, this technicality could result in a property which looks to be residential falling into the non-residential rates of SDLT.

“Purchasers of homes which are deemed uninhabitable have 12 months from the filing date – that’s 14 days after the effective date of your property’s transaction – to submit an amended return. However, you can still apply for overpayment relief up to four years after the transaction, if it means the mistake has seen you pay too much in Stamp Duty.

“We’re able to support clients throughout this process and encourage property developers to work with Champion Accountants to unlock capital which can be reinvested to make your developments even more special.”

If you think you might be eligible for a refund, please get in touch with Martin Frain, tax advisory consultant, at or call 0161 703 2500.