Law Society proposes simplified test for stamp duty on second homes
By Nick Palmer
The government intends to introduce a 3% higher rate of stamp duty on purchases of second homes. Following a consultation paper, the Law Society has proposed a simple test at the time of the purchase which would avoid many of the complexities and unfairness within the current proposal.
The test would be: ‘whether the property is being purchased as the main residence for one of the purchasers.’ Couples should be treated as two individuals for these purposes, so that if the property were the main residence for either of them, the lower rate of stamp duty would apply. Similarly, parents and trustees would not be penalised if they are helping a child or trust beneficiary with a property purchase.
The government will confirm its final policy design in the Spring Budget on 16 March.
Nick Palmer is a solicitor in the Private Client team at Barker Gotelee.