Chancellor’s Summer Budget failed to address Stamp Duty which many believe remains imbalanced

The majority of accountants still believe that the stamp duty regime on residential properties is unfair, despite the reforms announced by the Chancellor in the Autumn Statement, according to research from Bloomsbury Professional, a leading tax and accounting information group.

The new system overhauled how HMRC calculated Stamp Duty – with the tax now only applying to the amount of the purchase price which fell within that particular duty band. This prevented purchasers of property valued slightly above a particular threshold being hit with a sudden increase –
leading it to be criticised as an anomalous “slab tax”.

However, Bloomsbury Professional’s research reveals that 55% of accountants still believe the system is unfair. Of these, the largest proportion (22%) argued that Stamp Duty ought to be set more locally, to reflect regional conditions and enable it to be used, for example, as a measure to either boost or control local property markets.

A further 20% of accountants felt that Stamp Duty remains too high overall whilst 13% felt that the tax is too high for more expensive properties.

Martin Casimir, Managing Director of Bloomsbury Professional, explains:

Calculator (PD)It is significant that the greater proportion of accountants still feel that the Stamp Duty system is in need of an overhaul.

“The recent Summer Budget did not address the imbalances that many accountants feel is impacting the residential property market.

“The calls for Stamp Duty to be set locally are intriguing. The impact of such a change and how it could best be implemented is up for debate but it certainly shows that the devolution debate is becoming part of business’ mainstream thinking.

When the new Stamp Duty rates were announced the Government stated that 98% of homeowners would pay less after the charges and only those buying properties worth more that £937,000 would pay more.

HMRC collected £10.7bn in Stamp Duty tax in 2014/15, a 36% increase over three years from £6.9bn in 2012/13.

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