Simon Howley considers the complexities of the stamp duty land tax and asks whether they could be open to abuse
Stamp duty land tax (SDLT), being a mechanically transactional tax by nature, should in theory be a relatively simple tax to understand and apply. However, since it was introduced by the Finance Act 2003, it has become an ever more complex, much abused and confusing tax where the cost of making an error can be very expensive – for both the client and the adviser.
You only have to look at the number of SDLT refund internet firms that have popped up over the past five years and the increasing number of solicitors and conveyancing firms now completely outsourcing the SDLT advisory side of property transactions. The regulatory risk of getting it wrong is just far too great!