As published in today’s budget news, the Chancellor has announced changes to the method of calculation and rates of commercial Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) with effect from midnight tonight in respect of both leasehold and freehold purchases.

For acquisitions of non-residential and mixed property exchanged after midnight on 17 March 2016, SDLT will be calculated on a gradient, rather than under the ‘slab’ rules, as is already the case with residential property.

A new SDLT online calculator is available via: which allows users to compare SDLT under the old rules and the new rules. Those purchases with chargeable consideration of more than £1,050,000 will be worse off under the new rules than under the old regime.

The rates are also being amended as follows:

Freehold property

Chargeable consideration Rate
Up to £150,000 0%
Over £150,000 and up to £250,000 2%
Over £250,000 5%


Leasehold property

NPV of rent Rate
Up to £150,000 0%
Over £150,000 and up to £5,000,000 1%
Over £5,000,000 2%


In addition, where the relevant rent (as opposed to the NPV) is £1,000 or more, purchasers will be able to benefit from the 0% threshold for both the premium and rental elements of a leasehold transaction. This will mean that leasehold purchases with premiums of less than £150,000 where the rent is above £1,000 will have no SDLT due on the premium.

Transitional provisions are available so that, where a purchase is exchanged before 17 March 2016 and completed after that date, the buyer may elect that the old regime applies. This applies even where the transaction has been substantially performed before 17 March 2016 but not completed until after 17 March and in those cases a further return will be required on completion, although the effective date of the transaction will still remain the same. This is subject to certain exclusions, such as transactions effected by variations to contracts, assignments of rights under contracts, exercise of options and sub-sales.

There are a number of special circumstances, such as later linked transactions and heldover leases where specific advice will need to be provided. 

This post was edited by Jo Symes. For more information, email

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This blog is intended only as a synopsis of certain recent developments. If any matter referred to in this blog is sought to be relied upon, further advice should be obtained.