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More professionals call for changes to stamp duty system

As we approach Thursday's General Election, more property professionals have criticised stamp duty and called for the Government to make changes to the system.

Regional estate agency Mullucks Wells is asking the government to apply the same logic to stamp duty that has historically been applied to corporation tax.

The firm's residential director, William Wells, contends that as the rate of corporation tax has fallen over the years, the annual sum collected by the government has actually increased.


“It sounds counterintuitive, but it’s true," says Wells.

"The lowest ever rates of corporation tax have led to the highest ever amount of income for the Treasury - currently standing at £56 billion."

He says that low corporation tax rates encourage more companies to operate in the UK which has a positive effect on the amount of tax collected.

Wells argues that the same logic would apply to stamp duty.

"Extortionate rates have had a massive impact on people’s ability to move house at what is already a very expensive time in their lives," he says.

"And there’s no question that the new highest rate has caused a collapse in the number of sales of more expensive properties."

The agent explains that leaving the middle and top rates of stamp duty at 'ridiculous levels' is costing the government money through a lack of transactions.

"Stamp Duty needs to be lowered, and lowered immediately," adds Wells. 

He concludes that lower stamp duty rates would allow for a more 'fluid' property market and provide the government with an opportunity to collect more tax.

Wells' comments come after calls for stamp duty reform from high profile agents Paul Smith of haart and Trevor Abrahamsohn of Glentree International.


Meanwhile, legal expert Ann Humphrey has published a Stamp Duty Land Tax Questions & Answers Resource. 

The free resource is aimed at both professionals and consumers and provides guidance on outcomes that apply in different purchasing scenarios.

Topics currently covered on Humphrey's website include the 3% surcharge, multiple dwellings’ relief, release or assumption of debt, chargeable consideration, and mixed use.

The questions have been gathered over the last nine months and so far, 35 have been published, with a new one to be answered every week.

The Q&A is available here.


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