Stamp Duty liability should be switched to sellers

12 May 2020

The liability for Stamp Duty on residential property sales should be switched from buyers to sellers, according to the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT).

The AAT was responding to the Office of Tax Simplification's (OTS) 'Claims and Elections Review' call for evidence.

It says such a switch would remove the need to claim First Time Buyers tax relief (FTBR) on Stamp Duty. This would save the taxpayer £675 million a year and have a range of other benefits, according to the AAT.

FTBR was introduced in 2017 as a response to the difficulties many young people face when trying to get on the property ladder.

It means that first-time buyers can claim relief, paying no Stamp Duty up to £300,000 and 5% on the portion from £300,001 to £500,000.

The AAT said: 'As well as being very costly to the taxpayer, it is unlikely to help many first-time buyers in the most populated parts of the country (London and the South East) where the average house price in May 2019 was £457,471 and £323,745 respectively. 

'The £675 million a year cost of FTBR would be saved by switching Stamp Duty liability from the buyer to the seller because first-time buyers have no property to sell, they will not pay Stamp Duty and so no relief is required.' 

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