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Stamp Duty Land Tax Update

The law is always changing and Residential and Commercial Property is no different. At Adcocks Solicitors we pride ourselves on giving up to date legal advice with one eye on the potential changes in the future. We have outlined two examples of this below.

This year Stamp Duty Land Tax (“SDLT”) has changed. Since 1st March 2019 HM Revenue and Customs (“HMRC”) has reduced the time limit that purchasers have to file an SDLT return and pay the tax due from 30 days to 14 days. It is always best practice to pay the SDLT due in any property transaction as soon as possible, but it is now even more important to consider and anticipate any potential issues or delays that may arise in the post-completion aspects of your transaction.

It is important to meet the deadline for filing an SDLT return and paying the tax due as HMRC as otherwise your matter may be delayed and you may have to pay a penalty and interest. The guidance produced on the website indicates that: “you’ll pay an automatic fixed penalty if you do not file your return by the filing date. The amount of the penalty depends on how late you file your return.

You’ll pay a fixed penalty of:

– £100 if you file your return up to 3 months after the filing date
– £200 if you file your return more than 3 months after the filing date

You’ll pay a tax-based penalty as well as the fixed penalty if you do not file your return within 12 months after the filing date. The tax-based penalty can be up to the full amount of the tax due on the return.”

Further, if you fail to pay any SDLT liability on time then you may be charged interest at the appropriate rate, which you can find here. As set out in the guidance produced on the website the current late payment interest rates applied to the main taxes and duties that HMRC currently charges interest on is 3.25% from 21 August 2018.

As some readers will be well aware, SDLT can already run into the thousands in many property matters, so failure to consider this prior to completion could prove to be a very costly mistake!

With a view to the future, The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (“RICS”) have recently (5th May 2019) closed their consultation on their draft professional statement – Code for leasing business premises in England and Wales, 1st edition (“Code”). As drafted, the new Code would impose mandatory requirements on RICS regulated surveyors or firms. You can view the draft Code by visiting the RICS consultation website here.

The mandatory requirements of the proposed Code are set out in Part 3 at paragraphs 1.1 to 1.4 and are loosely as follows:

1. To approach negotiations in a constructive and collaborative manner;

2. To advise parties, who are unrepresented by an RICS member in negotiations, of the existence of the Code and advised to obtain professional advice;

3. To record the lease terms, on a vacant possession letting, in written heads of terms including a minimum detail as specified in the draft Code; and

4. In respect of lease renewals, unless terms are stated to follow the tenant’s existing lease (subject to reasonable modernisation), the heads of terms should comply with the above three mandatory requirements.

A response is due to be published by RICS once the consultation responses have been reviewed and we will be keen to observe any amendments to the current draft ready for its prospective implementation.

Andrew Martin

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