Stamp duty refunds scam
Over the past few years, there have been some interesting opportunities for making claims for Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) refund claims. It should be noted that to be successful, these claims must meet quite specific criteria. For example, there may be scope for landlords and property investors to recover the 3% SDLT surcharge on the basis that a residential property was uninhabitable at the time of purchase. This could be because the home had no kitchen, bathroom, heating or was missing a roof. There is also the possibility of claiming Multiple Dwellings Relief (MDR) where multiple residential properties were bought as part of a linked transaction.
HMRC has published a press release warning homeowners about cold calls from rogue tax repayment agents advising them to make speculative SDLT refund claims. HMRC is likely to raise enquiries on these claims. If this is after the agent has taken their fee, the homeowner may be liable to pick up the difference. Incorrect refund claims must be repaid with interest, and potentially facing penalties.
HMRC has nine months to enquire into a claim and would look to recover the full tax, with interest, and penalties charged where appropriate from those found to be incorrect.
We would strongly recommend that anyone interested in receiving further information about making a claim or who are contacted ‘out of the blue’ about a Stamp Duty refund claim should seek our advice. Interestingly, HMRC give the same advice in their press release suggesting ‘anyone approached about a Stamp Duty refund claim should check with their original conveyancer, take independent professional advice and check HMRC’s guidance by searching ‘Stamp Duty Land Tax’ on GOV.UK.