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Stamp Duty may have been overpaid by 120,000 buyers - claim

Stamp duty specialist consultancy Cornerstone Tax claims some 120,000 buyers in the UK may be owed SDLT refunds.

It says that in 2017/18, over £12.9 billion in stamp duty was paid by homebuyers in the UK, while in 2016/17 alone over 6,800 additional property refunds totalling £80m were paid. 

Cornerstone says it has been estimated that over £3 billion has been overpaid in stamp duty in 2015/16 mostly because of confusion by legal advisers unable to master the complexity of the tax.


The company says a new survey shows 61 per cent of homebuyers have never considered whether there was a mistake in the stamp duty they paid but 13 per cent feel they were forced to pay too much stamp duty in error due to their solicitor.

David Hannah, principle consultant and founder of Cornerstone Tax, explains: “While the percentage payment bands at higher property values is fairly straightforward, the number of exemptions and surcharges on different kinds of homes becomes incredibly confusing for even the solicitors and conveyancers advising on these transactions. 

“The law around SDLT is incredibly complex and many advisors who help consumers evaluate how much they should pay are trained only to differentiate between residential and commercial property.

“They simply aren’t familiar with the intricacies of the law’s evaluation criteria, which has led to many consumers being mis-advised unintentionally. There are a number of other reasons why people have overpaid; it’s not always a misinterpretation of the three per cent surcharge."

  • Rob Hailstone

    And the purpose of the article is?

    If these claims are true, no doubt an honest error by the solicitors involved. Whereas, in 2019 it was reported:

    "Victoria Nicholl, tribunal judge, stated that he “knowingly provided” HMRC with a document that contained an error “with the intention that HMRC should rely upon it as an accurate document”.

    She continued: “The failure to notify the full chargeable consideration of £765,000 was an inaccuracy that led to an understatement of tax and it was deliberate on Mr Hannah’s part.”"

  • icon

    Strikes me that at the moment it is open season on conveyancers. Everywhere I read at the moment people are having a pop at fees, delays now this, which actually just reads like an advert for a new firm of ambulance chasers.
    There are a lot of things wrong with the profession at the moment but there are far worse things going on in the wider world. People need to get some perspective.


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