Keeping purchases moving, land transaction returns

24th March 2020

There is a time limit now of only 14 days from the “effective date” of a transaction (usually completion) within which to submit to HMRC a land transaction return and pay any SDLT due.

In many cases, especially where mortgage finance is required, as a matter of practice the land transaction return has to be settled and signed before completion.

Normal conveyancing practice is to require the buyer to sign the return, which might be sent by post or electronically.  The buyer has to return the signed version to the conveyancer ready for the conveyancer to submit electronically within the 14 day period.

There will usually be other papers to sign as well ahead of completionH, but occasionally the land transaction has to be prepared later and it is possible that getting a hard copy to the buyer (or the buyer having it printed) could present a problem. There is a “work around“ allowed by the legislation as an alternative to the buyer personally signing the return.  It involves having the conveyancer authorised in a particular way to make the required declaration on the return.  So it might be that all is not lost if the buyer is not able physically to sign the land transaction return in time.

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