Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) issues can arise in numerous business and personal situations. Many of these potential complications flow from the piecemeal nature of the legislation, which can result in unexpected SDLT charges.

Occasionally, however, such irregularities can be legitimately harnessed to the tax payer’s advantage.

Birketts’ Tax Team has a strong track record of advising in relation to SDLT; ensuring that SDLT issues are considered and, if possible, mitigated at an early stage.

What advice can we provide?

The team regularly considers SDLT queries from our residential, commercial and agriculture teams and, as you can imagine, this leads to a wide range of queries. For example, we regularly consider:

  • the availability of SDLT reliefs for developers and the impact on the higher residential rates
  • the complication and potential benefit of purchasing a house with an annexe in line with revised HMRC guidance
  • what falls within (or, more importantly, outside) the definition of residential property (an area that HMRC has clarified relatively recently)
  • the various SDLT residential higher rate rules for different types of trusts and their beneficiaries
  • the availability of the SDLT group relief and sub-sale reliefs
  • how the SDLT partnership rules apply to the transfer of land into and out of partnerships
  • the SDLT consequences of family breakdowns
  • the SDLT consequences of holdover leases and the possible availability of overlap relief
  • whether SDLT charities relief is available to mitigate the SDLT payable by a charity 
  • the ability to reclaim overpaid SDLT where a previous adviser has failed to claim a valuable relief or has applied the wrong SDLT rate to a transaction or, potentially, where HMRC has changed its published guidance.

Why instruct experts?

Ultimately, we aim to provide responsive and commercial advice in a flexible manner to meet your specific requirements.

SDLT is often excluded from the scope of any advice provided by accountants and, in many cases, it is the law firm involved who provides such SDLT guidance. Not all law firms are well placed to advise on complex and technical SDLT matters and, even if our Property Teams are not involved, we would be very happy to discuss whether it would be appropriate to involve us to work alongside existing advisers.

If you have any queries or wish to discuss SDLT issues, please do not hesitate to contact Karl Pocock on 01603 756544 or by email: [email protected] or Ben Clarke on 01603 756466 or by email [email protected].