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Do You HAVE to Pay Stamp Duty?

Much has been written in recent times on the pitfalls and potential repercussions of Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) savings schemes, and those looking into these or seeking to use this form of tax planning, would be forgiven for deeming them potentially hazardous or deciding not to go ahead, given some of the negative press thats been given of late.

Well, its really a case of the old saying with a modern twist; dont believe all you read on the internet! SDLT planning is no less valid or legal than any other form of tax planning, the aim of which is always to minimise the tax liability of the client.

Most of whats written can be found on internet chat forums with headlines such as Is It Legal?, Does It Work? and HMRC CRACK DOWN on Stamp Duty Avoidance Schemes! There are many questions but very few answers, and those answers that can be found are often wrong or misleading, so here I hope to address the scaremongering surrounding this legitimate form of tax planning.

In late October last year Her Majestys Revenue and Customs (HMRC) stepped up its campaign to dissuade people from undertaking legitimate tax avoidance schemes by applying pressure via various channels. Unfortunately for the Government, and ultimately HMRC, the issue lies in poorly drafted legislation which continues to exist with gaping holes for the tax payer to jump through.

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