On 11 February 2019 HMRC and the Treasury together issued a consultation document in respect of a 1% SDLT surcharge for non-UK resident purchasers of residential land interests in England and Northern Ireland.
The proposal was first announced by the Prime Minister at the Conservative party conference in September 2018, and reconfirmed in the October 2018 Budget.
The consultation period will run until 6 May 2019 at which point the UK Government will consider the responses and decide whether to go ahead with the 1% surcharge on foreign buyers. The 1% surcharge is, therefore, not current law and does not yet apply.
The stated rationale for the proposal is that the government is committed to helping more people into home ownership and "there is evidence that purchases of property by non-UK residents is pushing up house prices for UK residents."
It is expected that the additional 1% SDLT would apply to both non-resident individuals and non-natural persons (e.g. companies, trusts, partnerships), and would apply in addition to the existing SDLT rates of up to 15%.