The time limit for filing SDLT land transaction returns without interest and penalties is reducing by over 50% this year. The current window is 30 days. If you enter into a land transaction with an effective date for SDLT on or after 1 March 2019 you will only have 14 days to submit the land transaction return.
New filing deadlines from 1 March 2019
The Finance Bill 2019 introduces new filing deadlines for all transactions that take effect on or after 1 March 2019. The legislation is still in draft so remains subject to change although no material charges are expected.
For transactions with an effective date for SDLT on or after 1 March 2019, there will only be 14 days to submit the SDLT land transaction return. The effective date for most transactions is the date that they complete. However, it may earlier if there is substantial performance beforehand. It could also be later if the transaction only becomes notifiable due to a later linked transaction.
The new time limit of 14 days covers any new purchases that would require the submission of an SDLT land transaction return under the existing rules. Interest will start running and penalties will become due once that window expires.
Although it covers all new purchases, the new time limit does not apply to all returns. Certain situations require separate “returns” to HMRC to reflect events after the purchase completes (on top of any return that was filed initially). The most relevant ones here are:
- “Contingent” payments becoming due (for example, part of the price becoming payable if a planning permission is granted);
- “Uncertain” payments becoming fixed (such as an overage payment linked to the number of units sold on a site);
- Transactions that have had the benefit of SDLT relief and where the relief is later withdrawn;
- “Linked” transactions (for example, where a later linked transaction makes an earlier one notifiable); and
- leases where the tenant remains in occupation after the end of the lease term stated in the contract.
Where the event requires a land transaction to be filed, the time limit will be 14 days. Where the event requires a “return” by letter to HMRC because a land transaction has been previously filed in relation to the transaction, the time limit remains at 30 days. The 30 day window to apply for deferral of SDLT remains. However, the land transaction return in relation to such deferral is currently proposed to be within the 14 day window.