20 Aug

equity release

Chancellor won’t switch stamp duty liability to property sellers

The liability for paying Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) won’t be switched from buyers to sellers. Chancellor Sajid Javid has ruled out making those selling property pay the duty instead of buyers.

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Won’t support proposal

A report in The Times had said Mr Javid was giving some thought to the proposal as a way of exempting first-time buyers from paying stamp duty at all. At the moment FTBs are exempt from paying stamp duty on properties up to the value of £300,000 in England. In a tweet on Saturday, the Chancellor said he would not support the proposal and added: “I know from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government that we need bold measures on housing – but this isn’t one of them.” Prime Minister Boris Johnson had also floated the idea of making property sellers responsible for stamp duty during his campaign to be elected leader of the Conservative Party.

Fairer system

It’s an idea that is also backed by the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT), which has lobbied successive Conservative governments on the subject. Its argument is that switching stamp duty to sellers would be a fairer scheme and would also allow buyers to move up the property ladder more easily without having to find thousands to pay stamp duty. At the moment anyone buying property or land valued at more than £125,000 pays stamp duty land tax. The duty is levied on a sliding scale with those buying the most expensive property paying the most in tax.

FTB exemptions

The exemptions for FTBs were introduced in 2017 by then-Chancellor Philip Hammond. SDLT raises £9.3 billion every year for the Treasury. Scotland and Wales have their own property tax systems – the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax in Scotland and the Land Transaction Tax in Wales.