Establishing real commercial use

Julie Butler considers the case of Pensfold Farm, in which well-maintained business plans could have enabled the use of mixed-use rate of SDLT

Pensfold, a Cayman Islands company, bought a small farm in 2017 with the intention of developing it into an eco-agritourism business. The stamp duty land tax (SDLT) return was submitted, claiming the property was non-residential and that relief from the higher rate was due (Finance Act 2003 Sch 4A para 5B). HMRC enquired into the return with interesting findings that tie into other tribunal decisions.

The First-tier Tribunal’s recent ruling on the case of D Hyman and another v HMRC [2019] UKFTT 469 is a useful pointer as to how HMRC scrutinises 

‘mixed use’ rates of stamp duty land tax (SDLT) and differentiates between residential use and mixed use classifications, as well as when a commercial rate SDLT might apply.