By Frances Traynor
19th January 2018
First-time buyers are in the news right now with Chancellor Philip Hammond's focus on giving newcomers to property owning a tax break by exempting them from paying Stamp Duty Land Tax on transactions worth up to £300,000.
But how do you know for sure that you qualify as a first-time buyer and so can benefit from the Stamp Duty exemption?
The Treasury, which levies Stamp Duty Land Tax on behalf of the Government, is clear on its definition: A first-time buyer is someone who has never owned freehold or leasehold interest in a dwelling before and who is purchasing their only or main residence.
If you have been left a share or whole of a residence in a will, you are not a first-time buyer.
If you own residential property anywhere else in the world, you are not a first-time buyer.
If you own a static caravan, you are not a first-time buyer.
If you have never bought before and are buying in joint names with another person who has previously owned a property, then you are not a first-time buyer in the eyes of the Treasury.
If you have participated in a shared ownership scheme with a housing association and are now buying on your own, you are not a first-time buyer.
If you are purchasing a property as a buy-to-let, even if it's the first time you've bought, you are not a first-time buyer.
If you claim you are a first-time buyer when you know that you are not, you may be committing fraud and could face a fine while also having to pay the outstanding tax.
Your solicitor will apply for the exemption to Stamp Duty Land Tax when completing your conveyancing to purchase a property. He or she will be asked to fill in a code that confirms the buyers have never purchased a dwelling before.
Read our detailed Q&A on Stamp Duty and first-time buyers for more information.
If you're a first-time buyer, check out Homeward Legal's comprehensive First-Time Buyers' Hub where all your questions about purchasing for the very first time are covered in detail.
Frances Traynor Conveyancing Expert
Homeward Legal has put together some handy guides to help you with your first property purchase. Let us know if there is anything we've missed, and as ever, feel free to call 0800 038 6699