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Stamp Duty soars amid BTL surcharge and high end hikes

  • 26/04/2017
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Stamp Duty soars amid BTL surcharge and high end hikes
The government raked in over over £11bn Stamp Duty in 2016 as receipts of the tax hit record highs.

Latest figures from HM Revenue and Customs showed the government received £11.7bn last year in Stamp Duty, up from £10.7bn in 2015 and £9.6bn 10 years ago.

The increase is being attributed to the Stamp Duty surcharge on buy to let properties and second homes introduced in 2016 and the reform which came into effect in 2014 that saw properties at the higher end of the market charged more.

HMRC said receipts for April 2016 to March 2017 were 10.5% higher than last year with the largest increase in April receipts.

Earlier this month Landbay CEO and founder John Goodall said that one year on, it was unclear whether hiking Stamp Duty had had the desired effect.

Jane Simpson (pictured), managing director at TBMC said: “It is no surprise that Stamp Duty receipts have reached such high levels, given the 3% increase to the amount paid by landlords on buy-to-let properties.

“Although the increased surcharge may have deterred some landlords from expanding their portfolios, there is still appetite among many professionals to grow their rental property businesses.

“Nevertheless, we are currently seeing a greater proportion of re-mortgage cases being submitted compared with purchases. This may reflect a general hesitation among buy-to-let investors who are weighing up their options, and existing landlords refinancing to take advantage of the competitive rates available at the moment.”


Unbalanced market

Shaun Church, director at Private Finance, said: “The top end of the housing market has certainly borne the brunt of successive Stamp Duty reforms in 2014 and 2016, with last year’s surcharge for landlords and second homebuyers instrumental in rising tax receipts. Despite having populist appeal by boosting government revenues and helping buyers lower down the property ladder, this unfortunately doesn’t mean we’ve ended up with a better balanced market as a result.

“A healthy housing market needs a consistent flow of transactions, from top to bottom, without the need for artificial barriers or incentives to correct underlying flaws. The one silver lining at the top of the market is that slower house price growth has cancelled out some of the extra stamp duty costs for buyers of high-value properties.

“But there is no doubt that further, bolder reform is needed before the Stamp Duty system in England and Wales works effectively for all buyers and sellers of property,” he added.

Mark Harris, chief executive of SPF Private Clients, said: “Tax receipts from Stamp Duty have risen despite the falling number of property sales. This reflects the two big changes to stamp duty in recent years (firstly away from the slab system and secondly the additional SDLT for additional properties).

“Higher receipts, combined with the political agenda, make reform unlikely in the short term.
“However, this masks a dysfunctional market. Transactions have dropped off a cliff at the top end of the market because the government has gone too far. Punitive stamp duty charges higher up the chain stalls the overall market – and prevents people moving up and down the property ladder.”

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