Stamp Duty  

Govt dismisses calls for stamp duty reform

Part of the government’s response was that it had announced several steps to boost the availability of houses in the right places and committed £44bn of support for housing over the next five years.

Any potential changes to stamp duty tax will be dependent on the new prime minister, announced today (July 23).

The Association of Accounting Technicians claimed Boris Johnson, the favourite for the top spot, was interested in a shake up of stamp duty rules, specifically a switch of liability from buyer to seller.

But some advisers, such as Kay Ingram, director of public policy at LEBC, thought this would simply mean sellers would factor this tax into the price they ask for the property.

Ms Ingram agreed with the House of Lords committee that stamp duty was putting older homeowners off downsizing, as well as presenting a substantial barrier to second and subsequent home buyers.

Chris Sykes, mortgage consultant at Private Finance, said it was a shame the government had refused any reforms as its "job when it comes to stamp duty" was "far from finished".

He said: "While the first-time buyer exemption enabled millions of aspiring homeowners onto the property ladder, the rest of the UK property market remains paralysed as a result of the hefty cost of stamp duty.

"A reduction in the tax home-movers pay would bring a big boost to those progressing up the ladder, particularly for second-steppers stuck in their starter homes."

Mr Sykes thought the government should "take a leaf out of is own book" and look to repeat the success of the first-time buyer exemption by introducing a similar tax break for those on the final rung of the property ladder.

He cited the English housing survey, which found two in five 'baby boomers' lived in homes too large for their current needs, to show a tax cut for downsizers could "improve intergenerational fairness" by encouraging more homeowners to downsize and free up crucial housing stock to redress the UK's lack of property supply.

imogen.tew@ft.com

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