A solicitor is warning estate agents and the public about allegedly wrong advice relating to the additional homes stamp duty surcharge.
Julie Goodman, a senior associate solicitor at Midlands law firm Thursfields Solicitors, says mistaken guidance is increasingly given out by estate agents to the public.
“In the last few weeks, I have been contacted by potential clients who have received ‘advice’ from estate agents about avoiding second home stamp duty” she says.
“The scenario is that a property is owned by one party and is either going to be retained as an investment property or sold at a later date.
“Some estate agents are advising that the ‘other party’ – for example the husband – who does not currently own property can buy it in his own name and then transfer it by way of gift to both of them, which avoids second home Stamp Duty.
“But this is not a legal process, as for second home Stamp Duty purposes even if the purchase is made in a sole name, if the persons are married, it is treated as a joint purchase.”
Goodman, based in the company’s Stourport-on-Severn office, adds: “Estate agents need to be aware that this advice is mistaken and that couples considering it could open themselves up to fines as well as having to pay second home Stamp Duty they were hoping to avoid.”