This year’s Autumn Statement introduced a welcome reform of the Stamp Duty (SDLT) regime. To the relief of buyers, sellers, agents and lenders across the nation, the Chancellor has done away with the ‘slab’ based application of the tax; which effectively caused purchasers to suffer a higher rate of tax on the entire price of a residential property if that price exceeded a particular threshold by as little as a pound. With SDLT remaining largely unchanged since 2000 whilst house prices have soared, this particular change is long overdue.
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Stamp Duty Land Tax
We were recently introduced to husband and wife clients who, whilst in the enviable position of owning significant amounts of residential letting property (£10m+), were unhappy with the complexity of the structures in which the properties were held. For various reasons ownership of the properties was split over a number of entities including both a partnership and a limited company, with mortgages attached.
A prominent West Midlands accountancy firm has been successfully sued in the High Court for £1.4m in damages, arising from their failure to advise a client of the availability of tax avoidance strategies. According to The Times, Iranian businessman Hossein Mehjoo took his accountants Harben Barker to court for failing to advise him to join a particular tax scheme, which was subsequently shut down by HMRC but which was available at the time, and was effective in mitigating Capital Gains Tax (CGT) liabilities. Mr. Mehjoo had sold his business and realised an £850,000 tax bill, which he attempted to mitigate via another scheme, but which ultimately failed.