Hello, I am Keith, one of the experts on Just Answer, and pleased to be able to help you with your question.
Here is the guidance from the Gov UK web site:
'From 1 April 2016 the rates for Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) will be higher if you buy an additional residential property for £40,000 or more in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
You’ll also pay the higher rate if you buy a residential property in England, Wales or Northern Ireland and you already own one outside these countries.'
Thus, if you already own a property overseas then the 3% surcharge will apply. The key word here is 'own,' If you merely rent then the surcharge would appear not to apply.
I am so sorry to have to rain on your parade.
Here is a further extract from the guidance:
'If you buy a new main residence but the sale for your previous main residence is delayed you’ll pay the higher rates as you own 2 properties.
But you can get a refund for the amount above the normal SDLT rates if you sell your previous main residence within 3 years.'
So your surmise is essentially correct.
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