Conservative Party leadership contender Boris Johnson has expressed an interest in switching the stamp duty burden from buyers to sellers.
Until now Johnson’s comments on the stamp duty issue - mostly delivered through his columns in the Daily Telegraph - have suggested he wants a cut in the duty but not a shift in who should pay it.
Johnson wrote in the Telegraph last month: "I think particularly in London there is clearly a problem with stamp duty and it needs to be addressed … I’m not going to put a figure on how much we’re going to cut but we will certainly be looking to do that because I think actually you can do that in such a way as to increase revenues if you get it right because the market is locked up at the moment.”
But now a trade body - the Association of Accounting Technicians - claims Johnson is considering adopting its policy of switching the burden to the seller.
Earlier this month, Johnson met with AAT and agreed to examine their stamp duty recommendation further, requesting further information.
“AAT is naturally pleased that Boris [Johnson] has agreed to look at our long-standing proposal … this will save the taxpayer £700m a year by rendering first time buyers relief redundant. It will also protect the £9 billion of revenue stamp duty generates as it will still be paid in full, simply by different people. It is also much more progressive as it will be paid on the lower priced property being sold rather than the higher priced property being bought” says an AAT spokesman.
Earlier this year figures produced by HMRC and analysed by investment consultancy London Central Portfolio suggested that stamp duty receipts fell 8.5 per cent in 2018 compared to the previous year.
The duty gathered for HMRC some £8.669 billion, some £802m less than a year ago.
Receipts from the Additional Homes surcharge - that's the three per cent surcharge on buy to let properties and holiday homes - dropped 14.2 per cent last year when compared with 2017. The surcharge contributes 18.8 per cent of the total stamp duty ‘take’ whereas a year earlier the proportion was 21.1 per cent.
Since 1999 successive governments have changed stamp duty levels 13 times, almost all in an upwards direction, but not everyone is delighted at the prospect of a possible Johnson government reversing the trend with a cut.
Yesterday we reported that leading Scottish property agent David Alexander described Johnson’s proposal to scrap stamp duty for homes below £500,000 as“disastrous” for the Scottish market, as it would effectively encourage buyers and investors to spend elsewhere in the country in currently more expensive housing locations.