Official figures reveal record SDLT take despite fall in number of properties sold

Official data has revealed that the Government raised a record £7.7billion from Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) in the first eight months of the 2016/17 financial year – despite a significant fall in the number of homes sold during the same period.

Data revealed by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) suggests that 782,000 residential properties were sold between April and November, in comparison with 868,000 sold during the same period in 2015/16. Despite this, SDLT revenue increased by 12 per cent.

Commentators have speculated that recent SDLT changes, such as a tax overhaul in December 2014 and the introduction of a three per cent surcharge payable upon second property purchases in April 2016, explain the Government’s increased tax take against a backdrop of falling property sales.

Jonathan Hopper, managing director of Garrington Property Finders, said that buy-to-let investors across the country felt “aggrieved” by recent SDLT changes – as demonstrated by numerous calls for reform led by property bodies in recent months.

However, he said that any calls for the three per cent surcharge to “be reversed” were likely to “fall on deaf ears”.

Meanwhile, property commentator Henry Pryor added that a recent fall in the number of transactions at “the top end of the market” may eventually feed into the Government’s tax take.

He said: “Estate agents estimate that more than 40 per cent of SDLT revenue comes from within the M25.

“And the number of all transactions in London was, in August, 39 per cent down on a year ago, so this will inevitably create a hole in the Chancellor’s accounts in due course.”

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