The good news for those in the world of probate is that stamp duty land tax is seldom an issue. Transfers of property and land from estates to beneficiaries are free of tax. But, if beneficiaries are going to use their inheritance to purchase a property or some more property, then SDLT will raise its ugly head. It used to be a simple tax – a straight percentage above a certain value. But of course in recent years the tax has been made more onerous and complicated. The government was able to collect £2.5 billion from the tax in the fourth quarter of 2017. That was 5% higher than the comparable period of 2016.
One of the complications was the introduction of a 3% surcharge in April 2016 and this applied to transactions resulting in the buyer owning more than one residential property (unless replacing their main home). In the fourth quarter of 2017 that additional surcharge was applied to about 65,000 sales raising an additional £545 million. In total the surcharge raised £2 billion in additional tax last year, although £194 million of this has been reclaimed.