Scores of landlords could be owed thousands of pounds in stamp duty overpayments, according to a specialist tax firm.
Cornerstone Tax has returned £30 million to its clients as reclaimed stamp duty fees from HMRC during the past three years and points to some commonly overlooked stamp duty reliefs, exemptions and misconceptions that could result in a refund.
Landlords nearing retirement often transfer investment properties in and out of companies and family trusts, but Small Self-Administered Schemes (SSASs) and Self-Invested Personal Pensions (SIPPs) appear to have been a major source of errors, according to the firm.
A SIPP scheme allows someone to invest profits into their pension funds and pay stamp duty before the funds are deposited.
When transferring a commercial property into a SIPP or SSAS pension, it’s likely that all the property owners will also be members of the pension scheme, so the total discount against the stamp duty amount normally due on the transfer of the property is 100%.
“Some solicitors and advisors may have advised their clients that stamp duty needed to be paid when it was not – meaning up to 75,000 people could be owed compensation of up to a staggering £80,000 each,” says group chairman David Hannah (pictured).
Cornerstone Tax adds that many homeowners may have overpaid on stamp duty due to errors in their properties’ status; you can claim relief when buying more than one property if a transaction, or a number of linked transactions, includes freehold or leasehold interests in more than one of them.
It adds that when buying abandoned or uninhabitable properties, buyers might be eligible to pay a lower rate of stamp duty or qualify for a tax refund.
“Initiating a review promptly allows you to rectify the situation, gather evidence, and pursue appropriate actions to claim a refund or make adjustments as required,” says Hannah.