Practical administration of commercial stamp duty transitional measures

Oct 31, 2017

Transitional measures provided for in Finance Bill 2017 to deal with the 4 percent increase in the stamp duty rate on certain commercial property will not become law until the Finance Bill is enacted.   Following engagement with Revenue at the TALC forum, arrangements have been put in place to administer the transitional arrangements prior to enactment of the Finance Bill.  

As we reported in Chartered Accountants Tax eNews, the Bill introduced transitional measures for the 4 percent increase in the stamp duty rate on commercial property which came into effect by Financial Resolution on Budget night.  The transitional measures provide that stamp duty at a rate of 2 percent will apply to binding contracts that were entered into before 11 October 2017 once the instrument effecting the transfer is executed before 1 January 2018.  The instrument must contain a statement (in a form specified by Revenue) stating that a binding contract was entered into before 11 October 2017. 

However, these transitional measures will not become law until the Finance Bill is enacted, which in recent years has been the end of December. Following detailed discussions with Revenue at the TALC forum, Revenue has confirmed the following arrangements per eBrief No. 94/2017:

A person who files a stamp duty return before the enactment of the Finance Bill and who is satisfied that the transitional measures would apply if the Finance Bill was enacted, has two options. He or she may-

  1. File a return through the e-stamping system, pay stamp duty at the rate of 6 percent and be issued with a stamp certificate. On enactment of the Finance Bill, the filer can then request a refund of the difference in the stamp duty paid between the 2 percent and 6 percent rates by amending the return and submitting the relevant documentation to Revenue; or  
  2. File a return through the e-stamping system and pay the stamp duty at the rate of 2 percent, in which case a stamp certificate will not be issued.  On enactment of the Finance Bill, Revenue will publish information on how the postponed stamp certificate can be obtained.