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Stamp duty surcharge ‘could impact couples’

17th May 2019

A planned increase to Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) for non-UK residents may affect certain couples planning to buy a home, the Association of Taxation Technicians (ATT) has warned.

The proposed change, outlined in a HMRC consultation, says non-UK residents buying a home in England or Northern Ireland will be charged an extra 1% SDLT surcharge.

It is intended to discourage purchases of property by foreign investors, who the Government believes are pushing up house prices in the UK.

However, the ATT says it is concerned the measure may also affect couples where one person lives in the UK, but the other lives or works abroad.

As the surcharge would apply to joint purchases where at least one individual lives outside of the UK, couples in this situation who want to buy a home together or move house would be required to pay the extra charge.

Michael Steed, co-chair of ATT's technical steering group, said this was "not in line with the policy aim of helping UK residents to get on the housing ladder".

The Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) also raised concerns about the proposed charge, arguing it would introduce further complexity to property taxes and cause more confusion for some homebuyers.

Brian Slater, chair of the CIOT's property taxes sub-committee, said:

"SDLT has been the subject of technical change in virtually every year since its introduction in 2003.

"We urge the Government to refrain from making further changes before the impact of recent changes to the taxation of residential property are assessed."

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