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Are You Owed a Stamp Duty Refund?

Peter Hemple reports

Recent news reports have highlighted the fact that many homeowners have overpaid their stamp duty, with many subsequently claiming refunds from HMRC. Part of the problem, it has been claimed, is that the HMRC’s online tax calculator has provided some users with incorrect calculations. This is because it does not take into account certain discounts that may be applicable to certain properties.

HMRC responded by saying that the majority of people did pay the right amount and pointed out that its calculator is a free tool that is only intended to be used as a guide, not to provide an accurate final figure. However, many solicitors have said that they still rely on the calculator, especially as seeking advice from HMRC can involve a long turnaround time.

Making a claim for a Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) refund is only possible if you have bought property in England as Scotland introduced its Land and Buildings Transaction Tax in April 2015 and Wales introduced its Land Transaction Tax in April 2018. It is also usually only possible to claim back a refund within 12 months of purchase. However, there are exceptions to this, which will look at in this article.

More than £2bn could be owed in SDLT refunds
Cornerstone Tax specialises in helping agents, solicitors and the public navigate the hundreds of pitfalls that lead to SDLT overpayments. The firm estimates that more than £2bn of taxpayer money is owed in SDLT refunds. This is due to HMRC’s online calculator not accommodating for mixed use transactions, solicitors not being trained in tax law (leading to misclassifications of the 3% surcharge, mixed use properties and others) and HMRC’s combative approach to making people pay the maximum amount of tax rather than the correct amount of tax.

The firm said last year that HMRC data revealed that it was receiving 900 SDLT refund claims per month. However, this figure has now soared to around 3,000 claims per month.

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