Temporary stamp duty process for share transfers during COVID-19 pandemic

Posted by Cathrine Bryant, 26th March 2020
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HMRC has put in place an online process for paying Stamp Duty on share transfers during the COVID-19 pandemic. This will enable share registers to be updated in the absence of stamped documents.

The measures are temporary and will be in place only for the duration of the “stay at home” mandate and social distancing requirements. They relate to straightforward processes only. Guidance on the more complicated processes will follow over the next few days and we will update you as it happens.

What is the new process for paying stamp duty on share transfers during COVID-19?

The key points are:

  • The process is effective immediately.
  • Documents are to be submitted electronically and payments of Stamp Duty should be made by BACS or CHAPS to the bank details set out on the government website.
  • HMRC will then follow its usual process in terms of assessing the stock transfer form and checking that the payment has been received.
  • Once that has happened, HMRC will confirm by way of email (attaching a formal letter) that the Stamp Duty has been paid and that it will not look to impose a penalty against the Registrar for registering the new ownership of shares.
  • This process will enable share registers to be updated without any penalties being imposed for unstamped stock transfer forms.
  • Once normal service resumes, if there is a requirement to have the paper stock transfer forms signed, the stock transfer forms can be submitted to HMRC in the usual way together with the formal letter which HMRC attached to their email. Again, no penalty will be imposed.

The full guidance can be found on the government website:

We will continue to monitor the developments and produce guidance on these as quickly as possible.

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