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Anti-stamp duty campaigner fined … for stamp duty avoidance

One of the most outspoken campaigners against stamp duty has been fined for avoiding tens of thousands of pounds in … stamp duty.

David Hannah, founder of advice firm Cornerstone Tax, has been fined by the Upper Tax Tribunal after losing an appeal, The Times reports. 

Hannah has been ordered to repay the £30,600 stamp duty he avoided plus a penalty of over £17,000.

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The Times says the tribunal heard Hannah listed the five per cent deposit he paid for the property, £38,250, as the full purchase price with the Land Registry and concealed the rest of its £765,000 value. Hannah plans to appeal to the Court of Appeal, the paper adds.

In July last year, shortly before the introduction of the current stamp duty holiday by Chancellor Rishi Sunak, Hannah said such a cut would not necessarily improve the housing market, describing the move as “a poor tool for managing market behaviour.”

Back in 2017 Hannah spoke out against stamp duty in principle, saying: ““With real estate representing 21 per cent of the UK economy, it is a mystery as to why the government persists in hindering a crucial sector, by creating an unnecessary [tax] burden on tenants, landlords and homeowners.” 

Hannah has also suggested that a lack of familiarity with the intricacies of stamp duty by conveyancers and others may have led some buyers to have paid too much in the past. Last October he said a lesser known benefit of purchasing a property with a self-contained annex was that a buyer could be eligible for Multiple Dwellings Relief, leading to a reduced stamp duty fee.

At the time he said: “This demonstrates a lack of clarity in and around stamp duty land tax, both by the public and the legal sector. Millions of properties across the UK could qualify for reduced stamp duty rates if, for example, they have a self contained side annex as part of the property. In these cases, solicitors have a duty of care to inform their customers of all potential stamp duty reductions, including where Multiple Dwellings Relief is available.”

You can see The Times story here, although for some readers it will be behind a paywall.

  • Richard Copus

    Can we have some clarity here. Surely tamp duty AVOIDANCE is legal. Stamp Duty EVASION is illegal.

    Algarve  Investor

    Either way it's pretty shifty!

     
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