As a property acquisition consultancy, we are frequently asked by our clients to recommend a professional solicitor to act for them. Guy Hurst from Eric Robinson solicitors is one of a number that we feel comfortable in recommending and he recently wrote the following very interesting article on SDLT:
Complex tax laws have caused confusion across the property industry, yet a Winchester solicitor, surprised at the number of instructions he received to salvage transactions by saving clients hundreds of thousands of pounds in Stamp Duty Land Tax in 2016, has seen this continue into 2017.
Many accountants, solicitors and property professionals have clients who are unaware of long-standing Stamp Duty Land Tax reliefs. Confused property owners and investors, on receiving conflicting quotes about the tax which is payable, have ditched potential sales.
Guy Hurst, a specialist in high-value property across Hampshire who works for Eric Robinson Solicitors, cited an example of a local estate on the market for more than £3 million. Despite retaining some of the land to reduce the price, people were walking away from the property due to a potential £335,000 Stamp Duty Land Tax liability, until he was asked to get involved and identified a tax relief that cut the amount payable by £175,000. The estate quickly sold.
“It is true that the Government released the guidance with two weeks’ notice before the new laws came into force in 2015, which helped explain some of the confusion at the time, but industry professionals seem to be slow in catching up and adapting their knowledge to the current legislation,” Guy explains.
“As we enter 2017, the situation has not changed and is unlikely to do so in the twelve months ahead. The area of the market that is most affected and becoming increasingly stagnant concerns properties worth between £2 and £4 million. More than that and the extra expense of Stamp Duty Land Tax tend not to be a major concern, but it is still a bracket where, if the Chancellor were to make concessions, it would not go down well politically or with the media.’
The good news for first time purchasers is that Guy has identified perfectly legitimate tax reliefs on not only large landed estates, but also cottages, semi-detached houses and flats.