Budget 2012: New stamp duty plans are outlined

 

Stamp duty rate rate rise on £2m plus properties

Properties sold for more than £2m will be subject to a new 7% stamp duty charge, Chancellor George Osborne has confirmed.

Mr Osborne also said that stamp duty on residential properties over £2m which were bought via a company would increase to 15%.

The chancellor said that those who bought the most expensive homes should contribute more.

He also wanted to tackle tax avoidance when people bought homes.

Millions raised

"It is fair when money is tight, and so many families could do with help, that those buying the most expensive homes contribute more," Mr Osborne said.

There are various rates of stamp duty land tax - paid by the buyer of a property - already in place, depending on the cost of the home.

Current stamp duty thresholds

  • 1%: Properties of £125,000 to £250,000, but first-time buyers are exempt until 24 March
  • 3%: £250,000 to £500,000
  • 4%: More than £500,000
  • 5%: More than £1m, residential property only

The changes, which take effect at the end of the day, only affect a relatively small proportion of home buyers.

The latest statistics from the Land Registry showed that, in November 2011, there were 121 homes sold for more than £2m in England and Wales. That accounted for just 0.2% of the 57,967 homes sold that month.

Of these 121 homes, 98 were in London.

However, the move is predicted by the Treasury to raise £150m in the next financial year, rising to £300m by 2016-17.

Avoidance

The government wants to put a stop to the way some people have avoided paying stamp duty.

There are two popular methods. One was by paying for chattels - fixtures and fittings - separately and, as a result, bringing the cost of the actual property below the £125,000 threshold.

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The second was by setting up a limited liability company to buy the property, which then immediately sold it back to the individual, or which pushed up the price when selling on to the next buyer. This is done by the owner selling shares in the company rather than the property itself.

The second method is the one that the chancellor is keen to clampdown on.

He has announced that the level of stamp duty on residential properties over £2m which were bought via a company would increase to 15% with immediate effect.

In addition, overseas companies that already own UK residential property worth more than £2m will be subject to capital gains tax from April 2013.

"This can only make the UK less attractive to overseas investors," said Toby Ryland, a senior tax partner at accountants Blick Rothenberg.

 

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  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 161.

    Stamp duty is a terrible tax, creating artificial pinch points in house prices (would you pay £501K for a house??), and reducing mobility of the labour force by making it very expensive to move. It should have been scrapped not extended. Bad move (BTW, I am not an Estate Agent!!)

  • rate this
    -4

    Comment number 152.

    This is not what I expected from a Conservative chancellor. It may only affect a small number of property transactions, but it sends out a signal that the government is anti-aspirational. That's not why I voted Conservative. Lowering the top rate of income tax was a good start, but why cut one symbolic wealth tax and replace it with another? Time to get these pesky Lib Dems out of the way.

  • rate this
    -6

    Comment number 52.

    No phasing in period for the 7% stamp duty? What does this mean for property sales that have been agreed but are yet to exchange? To be suddenly slapped with an unprecedented fee of 2% seems a bit unfair

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 24.

    A very sensible budget - I'm pleased to see that efforts are being made to close tax loopholes, coupled with a clear warning that any further loopholes in this area will be retrospectively closed - sends a strong message.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 9.

    People who have bought houses through companies can afford accountants who will just point them to the next loophole, perhaps some sort of trust structure, until that loophole is closed. But announcing a 'tax on the rich' is good PR/soundbite for the government.

 
 

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