The Society of Licensed Conveyancers has become the latest body to call for the scrapping of stamp duty to give the housing market a boost.
Last month the Taxpayers’ Alliance advocated a similar measure, calling stamp duty a “badly designed tax which gums up property markets,” generates little money for the government and increases the costs of buying a house. It wants duty to be halved immediately and then phased out entirely.
Now the SLC has backed this call and says there are additional reasons who stamp duty should go.
S:C says its application - especially since the three per cent additional homes surcharge - has become unwieldy and “ridiculously complicated” due to rushed legislation which appears to be hsaving the opposite effect for which it was intended.
“Conveyancing lawyers are now expected to help their clients navigate around the very poorly drafted regulations that goven this tax and causes delays and at times...transaction failure” says the society.
“It’s ironic that the government is engaged in a review to improve the home buying process when it has introduced legislation that actually makes the process more complicated and tortuous. It is an insult on top of this that HMRC looks to conveyancing lawyers to act as tax collectors” says SLC chairman Simon Law.
Not every organisation is critical of UK stamp duty, however.
In recent weeks an international accountancy consultancy has said UK property transaction charges are relatively low compared to elsewhere in Europe.
The consultancy, UHY, used an analysis based on a property costing US$1m - so equivalent to roughly £765,000. It therefore did not include the higher priced UK properties which attract significantly higher levels of stamp duty.