Buy-to-let investors could soon fill the HMRC with stamp duty surcharge refund requests. This is following on from a potential precedent set at a recent tax tribunal that saw a couple acquire a neglected building and were able to refute the additional 3% stamp duty charge on purchases of second homes.
It was revealed at
the tribunal, held in Bristol, that potentially, buy to let investors could avoid
paying the 3% stamp duty surcharge. This instance could cause many more
landlords who have already paid the surcharge, to demand a refund from HMRC and
suggests that many property purchases could fall short of the additional 3% surcharge
and just consist of the standard rate stamp duty.
Paul and Nikki Bewley
acquired their uninhabitable bungalow in Western-super-Mare and made the
decision to bulldoze the original build in order to make way for a new property,
thinking they would not accountable for the 3% charge for Taking on the
HMRC argued this view,
believing that the 3% charge was applicable, as the property was capable of
being used as a dwelling sometime in the future.
However, a recent tax
tribunal ruled against the HMRC and in favour of Paul and Nikki Bewley, stating
that they are only able to charge the 3% if the home is in an acceptable living
condition right away.
HMRC has yet to
decide on an appeal, stating: “We’re considering the judgment carefully.”
But, this ruling suggests
that many buy-to-let landlords could be exempt from the 3% surcharge, when
buying a property that is uninhabitable at the time they purchased it.
Trust Limited, a specialist buy-to-let broker, considers that this ruling could
represent an opportunity for past claims from buy-to-let investors who have
paid the additional 3% charge on properties that were uninhabitable at the time
(Weekly, fortnightly or monthly)