In a move to help the property market and first time buyers, Alistair Darling has introduced a Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) exemption or holiday for purchases of residential property from 3 September 2008 to 2 September 2009 (inclusive). The exemption effectively raises the current nil rate band of £125,000 (£150,000 in disadvantaged areas) to £175,000 for the period of one year only.
The effect of this increase is that where residential property is bought or leased (for in excess of 21 years) costing not more than £175,000, no SDLT will be payable. SDLT continues to be payable at 1% on property from £175,000 to £250,000 before the percentage rises.
http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/so/temp-exempt-sdlt.htm – HMRC guidance SDLT
http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/so/new-sdlt-calculators.htm – SDLT calculator