Covid-19: changes to stamp duty payments process on share sales

Due to measures put in place to stop the spread of coronavirus, HMRC has temporarily changed the way it deals with stamp duty payments on shares bought on a stock transfer form, and will no longer accept cheques

Stamp duty must now be paid electronically only by Faster Payment, Bacs or CHAPs. Details of the transaction must be emailed to HMRC rather than sent in the post.

Any payments sent as a cheque will not be banked until coronavirus measures end, meaning that the transaction will not be processed.

Anyone paying electronically will need to provide a payment reference so that HMRC can identify the payment. HMRC suggests using the taxpayers name followed by the payment amount (no spaces), for example: JBrown/240.00.

A solicitor or adviser making a payment on behalf of a client can use their client’s reference or matter number as the payment reference. HRMC warns that payment could be delayed if the wrong reference is used.

Anyone who cannot make an electronic payment and after paying stamp duty taxpayers, email details to HMRC.

The email should include the payment reference, amount, and date of payment as well as an electronic copy (for example, a scanned PDF) of either the signed and dated stock transfer form, the instrument of transfer or form SH03 for return of purchase of own shares.

HMRC will accept e-signatures while coronavirus measures are in place.

In cases where the stock transfer form or instrument of transfer does not include these, taxpayers will also need to give details of the name of the company whose shares are being transferred, the shares being transferred including date of transfer, the parties to the transaction, and the amount of consideration.

HMRC says it will contact people if it has any questions.  If HMRC does not have any questions and is able to process the transaction, it will send a confirmation letter by email. No stock transfer forms are currently being stamped.

HMRC guidance, Pay Stamp Duty, standard guidance updated 25 Mar 2020 due to covid-19 - temporary measure

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