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Seller Should Pay UK Stamp Duty, Accountants Say

by Amanda Banks, Tax-News.com, London

08 September 2017


The UK Government should switch liability for the stamp duty on property sales from the buyer to the seller, accountants say.

The Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) said that it did not support calls to drop the tax, given the GBP11bn-plus (USD14.5bn) a year it raises. It said that a change to who is liable to pay the tax would:

  • Help more people get on the property ladder, by reducing immediate upfront costs;
  • Help those moving up the property ladder, which in turn should free up smaller properties for first-time buyers;
  • Increase the volume of house purchases, addressing recent criticisms from both the IFS and London School of Economics; and
  • Mean that people moving up the ladder would be paying duty on the lower-priced house that they are selling, not the higher-price one they are buying, improving buyers' ability to pay.

"It's widely accepted that stamp duty adds a burden to any homeowners seeking to move – especially first-time buyers – because they must pay the tax as an immediate upfront cost together with finding a deposit and paying surveyors and solicitors fees and so on," said Phil Hall, AAT Head of Public Affairs & Public Policy. "This stunts mobility, impacting on employment and productivity as well as reducing the supply of new homes, which adds to the affordability crisis. Switching liability to the seller would be a relatively simple way of solving these problems."

TAGS: tax | real-estate | United Kingdom | fees | stamp duty

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