Chancellor Sajid Javid has hinted that a change in stamp duty could be in the offing this autumn, but stopped short of saying that moving property tax to sellers would be his preferred option.
Currently, stamp duty on a property is paid by the buyer, and Javid appeared to suggest that this would change to become the seller’s responsibility, but he has now denied that he is an advocate of such a move.
‘I’m looking at various options. I’m a low-tax guy. I want to see simpler taxes,’ he said. As a former Secretary of State for Housing, however, the pros and cons of the idea will be known and understood.
If buyers were completely free of the burden of stamp duty, this would enable many first time buyers to enter the market for bigger properties, but those wishing to downsize would face significant charges. According to existing research, the cost of moving to a smaller property is a deterrent for older homeowners.
Meanwhile, the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) would welcome the move, having campaigned for it for several years. The group met with Boris Johnson earlier this summer to discuss the plans.
It said that a discussion with the Chancellor on the idea had also taken place, as well as with numerous civil servants, special advisers and politicians from across the political divide on the issue.
‘The AAT is naturally pleased that the Chancellor has publicly acknowledged he is giving serious consideration to our proposals. AAT does not believe switching stamp duty liability is a panacea, but it would be considerably fairer, simpler, more effective and cheaper than the current stamp duty regime,’ said Phil Hall, AAT head of public affairs and public policy.