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Stamp Duty: will reform of hated tax begin on March 11?

The new government has announced that its first Budget is to be held on Wednesday March 11 - and it’s giving agents and others the opportunity to put forward their views.

Last summer Prime Minister Boris Johnson said during his Tory leadership campaign that he would consider raising the stamp duty threshold from £125,000 to £500,000 and cutting the top SDLT rate from 12 to seven per cent. 

At around the same time the new Chancellor, Sajid Javid, made clear in media interviews that he too wanted a reform of the tax - although his initial suggestion that the burden could be shifted from buyer to seller was later denied. 


By the time of last month’s General Election the only firm commitment regarding stamp duty in the Conservative manifesto was to create a three per cent stamp duty surcharge on non-UK resident buyers.

However, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors says it wants a root-and-branch review of the duty, commenting last month: “The review should decide if the government wants to achieve revenue generation, market fluidity or another objective from SDLT; investigate whether the tax is fit for purpose; consider potential alternative taxation measures, such as a stamp duty exemption for downsizers or replacing stamp duty altogether with a reformed council tax; and consider a transitionary phase from the current system to a new regime.” 

Any individual agent or organisation can make its views felt ahead of the Budget; there are details here.

Other housing-related pledges made at the election that may surface in the Budget include a scheme offering a 30 per cent discount for local first-time buyers of new-build homes, and a target of one million new homes to be built in the next five years.

There was also a commitment to follow through the Theresa May government proposals to scrap Section 21 in the private rental sector; the government has already committed to scrap the measure as part of the Renters Reform Bill, scheduled to start its lengthy Parliamentary process later this year.

Poll: Will the Chancellor really reform Stamp Duty?


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    Boris Johnson our local MP visited my Uxbridge office. His words to me were, "the one thing George (Osbourne) got wrong was stamp duty". He believes in lower taxes which increases enterprise. I told him that top end SDLT must be reduced especially on transactions over a £million and suggested it be halved. I made sure he received this in writing pointing out all the benefits of a healthy housing market.
    I like to think he listened and am sure in time he will do something here.

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    He's a strong believer in the Laffer Curve so I think he will do it, and so he should it stifles the economy.

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    Abolish it altogether.

    But if not, as the UK government has always loved to tax it's citizens rather than attarct outside investment, then abolish it for property under £1m - for main residences. People should not be penalised for housing themselves.

    Over £1m and you can afford SDLT. I would expect to pay it if buying a £1m property.


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