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HMRC retrieves £300m in unpaid stamp duty

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) collected £301.8m in unpaid stamp duty land tax (SDLT) in 2014, according to a new study.

The tax authority’s new counter avoidance directorate retrieved the sum, confirmed by data from law firm, Collyer Bristow, after launching a crackdown on SDLT avoidance schemes across the country.

Established in April 2014, the directorate and additional new rules were established in last year’s Autumn Statement, which meant anyone buying a house for less than £937,000 would see SDLT cut or remain the same. Meanwhile those buying more expensive properties could face higher stamp duty bills.

In last week’s Autumn Statement and Comprehensive Spending Review, Chancellor George Osborne announced a further three per cent increase on stamp duty to be charged on properties purchased as secondary homes from April 2016.

James Badcock, partner, Collyer Bristow, believes the strong unpaid SDLT returns from compliance investigations demonstrate that it’s an area “likely to remain under the spotlight for some time to come”.

“Avoidance schemes were being used to reduce SDLT on what for London are relatively modest properties – in the £1m region – as well as very high value properties,” said Badcock.

“Whilst in many cases there is likely to be a legal justification for transactions which allowed an SDLT liability to be avoided, HMRC can be expected to challenge the schemes and anyone who is concerned at all should now seek advice.”

Your local TaxAssist Accountant can advise you on all tax aspects of buying, selling and letting property. So for those seeking guidance about their stamp duty land tax liabilities, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today and arrange a free initial consultation.

Image: David Wright

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