Unmarried Brit couples issued warning that could save them £15k on stamp duty

Thinking about tying the knot?

Well you might want to do it sooner, according to experts. That's because unmarried couples could be missing out on a lot of money from their property.

Certain tax breaks married couples enjoy aren't for those who haven't tied the knot. So if you plan on getting hitched soon, it's worth bringing the date sooner.

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Writing to The Guardian, one couple revealed how they've been informed to pay the higher rates of stamp duty on their second property.

They added: "This purchase equates to approximately £15,000 and will be required on completion.

"We understand the main residence argument doesn't apply to this transaction although I haven't lived in my property for more than a year and everything is registered including electoral roll at my partner's address.

"There is conflicting advice about whether as a married couple we wouldn't be required to pay the extra tax and we thought rather unromantically about bringing the marriage service forward and using the £15,000 towards something else."

In response, a legal expert from the newspaper said they were sadly correct and should consider moving their wedding date in order to save some money.

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They said: "Your interpretation of the guidance given in HM Revenue and Customs' online stamp duty land tax (SDLT) manual – which applies in England and Northern Ireland – is correct.

"If you are married or in a civil partnership, the higher rates of SDLT do not apply to a joint purchase of a new main residence where a married couple both own property but have lived together in one of the properties as their main residence.

"Both halves of a married couple or civil partnership buying jointly count as replacing a main residence even though it’s actually only one half.

"As an unmarried couple, you do have to pay the higher rates so I suggest that bringing your wedding forward makes the most financial sense."

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The expert claimed the law could be different depending on where you life. They continued: "And given that it will mean that you have £15,000 to spend on something more fun than a tax bill, I disagree it's an unromantic thing to do.

"The tax rules are different in Wales and Scotland, but in your scenario you would not have to pay the additional tax in either if you were married. In fact, in Scotland it does not matter if you are married or not."

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