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Spring Budget another ‘missed opportunity’ for stamp duty reform

Spring Budget another ‘missed opportunity’ for stamp duty reform

Stamp duty is an outdated tax in need of a reform, according to many property professionals.

Estate agents have long been among those seeking an overhaul of stamp duty, perceiving the levy as outdated and a disincentive for many people thinking about moving home.

A number of agents have in the past called on the government to come up with a fairer system to tax property transactions or home ownership, and some were hopeful that the chancellor Jeremy Hunt would use yesterday’s Budget announcement to introduce targeted changes to stamp duty. But that did not happen.

Richard Donnell, executive director at Zoopla, said: “The Budget had little direct impact on the housing market. Stamp duty remains unchanged and there are no big changes for landlords, other than a lower level of tax free gains before paying capital gains tax.

Shane Miller, Co-CEO of national property company Spring, comments: “Given the fragile state of the economy at present, this Budget was always going to be light in terms of tangible changes. An overly expansive budget would lead to higher interest rates, as we saw very clearly last September, and the negative impact of a similar miss step now would outweigh the benefits for individuals and businesses alike. Therefore, we’re happy to see that at first glance this budget appears well balanced.

“The Budget is, however, another missed opportunity from the government to finally reform Stamp Duty Land Tax, the current structure of which is a disincentive to labour mobility and therefore an impediment to their levelling up agenda. For example, a simple one off exemption for ‘last time buyers’ would go some way to readdressing our housing balance while stimulating all tiers of the market.”

Nathan Emerson, CEO of Propertymark, added: “There was no mention of tax incentives to boost much needed supply in the private rented sector. Whilst we recognise the UK government’s focus on getting more people into work, there is little appetite to improve the welfare system and support those who are struggling the most which will have a continued knock-on impact particularly for those low-income households who rent.”

SOURCE: Property Industry Eye | MARCH 16, 2023 | MARC DA SILVA



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