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Conveyancers issue warning: Stamp duty surcharge "likely to delay transactions"

The Society of Licensed Conveyancers is calling on the government to reconsider the three per cent stamp duty surcharge being introduced in April.

“Aside from the seeming attack on smaller investors (those with over 15 properties are exempt) and the likelihood of the reform not achieving its objectives, it is also likely to cause delays to property transactions” warns SLC chairman Simon Law.

“It appears to place undue responsbility on conveyancing lawyers not only to discover the circumstances of every purchase that they handle, but also to detect when clients may not be disclosing other property assets” he continues.

Law says that for a government allegedly committed to accelerating the speed of property transactions, these “new levels of bureaucracy” will add delays and legal costs to purchasers.

“SDLT is a tax and ultimately HMRC must take responsibility for policing this new obligation and detecting where buyers do not disclose that they own other assets. It is unreasonable and an abdication of responsibility to expect conveyancers to police this new tax” Law claims.

The SLC has fed this view in to the Treasury consultation on the new surcharge.

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    The SDLT proposals lack coherence from any perspective.

    If the consultation response is not heeded, and the scheme abandoned, the Government will have lost the few scraps of credibility it retains in terms of the housing market.


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