This comes from personal experience!  Purchase a second residential property and you pay a 3% Stamp Duty Land Tax surcharge.  If this second property is for your own residence and you sell your current home within three years you can reclaim the surcharge.  “Straightforward” you may think.  In practice danger could be ahead.

To reclaim the 3% SDLT you have to complete a paper form and send it to HMRC in Birmingham.  They have 55 working days to pay the refund.  HMRC do not acknowledge receipt of your claim.  They publish no phone number for the Birmingham Stamp Duty Office and if you phone a central HMRC helpline they say they cannot check with their Birmingham office to ensure your claim form has been received.

Besides the wait, here is the real catch! HMRC has to receive your claim within 90 days of the sale of your first residence or your claim is out of time; that’s calendar days not working days, which could be 60 plus working days.  So, if you’re slow making your claim and then too patient with HMRC and your claim form went adrift, you’re stuffed!!

My answer would be

  1. Make your claim quickly
  2. Send the form by recorded delivery and guard the record with your life

To be fair to HMRC, we received our refund within about six weeks.  Their rules and process, however, mean it is all too easy to be unlucky.