In his Autumn Statement, the Chancellor announced higher rates of Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) for purchases of additional residential properties - such as second homes and buy to let properties - to come into force 1 April 2016. The Treasury's subsequent consultation document has provided more details about the application of the 3% surcharge initiated by the Chancellor and here Robert Maas of City-based CBW LLP warns of several potential tax traps that this reveals.
First and foremost, the proposal goes a lot wider than second homes: it applies to ALL purchases of residential property by companies and ALL purchases of residential property by most trusts. The exception is for trusts with an interest in possession (such as a life tenant) where trust purchases will be treated as made by the life tenant.
Further, where the purchase is by an individual, the 3% will apply if the individual already owns a residential property or an interest in such a property. It does not matter what the new property will be used for - although there will be an exception for the replacement of a main residence. Property owned by a person's spouse or civil partner will be treated as owned by the individual.