Stamp duty land tax is unnecessarily complex

Nov 11, 2019

That’s according to the NI Tax Committee in its recently published position paper on the complexities of Stamp Duty Land Tax in England and Northern Ireland. Members are invited to send their observations and comments on this position paper to Leontia Doran by close of business Friday 22nd November.


This paper has been prepared in advance of the joint workshop with the Office of Tax Simplification (“OTS”) discussing UK tax complexity which is being later this month on Tuesday 26th November 2019.


SDLT has been chosen by the Committee as one of its two topics of the four topics for discussion at the workshop because not only has this legislation become increasingly complex over the last few years but its complexity and thus impact is widely felt across the UK by both tax and legal professionals, and businesses and individuals.


The remaining topics for discussion are income tax complexity, capital gains tax, and administration. Further position papers will be published in the coming weeks on each of these topics, for comment, in advance of the workshop. Get in touch with Leontia if you wish to make any comments in advance.


In the SDLT position paper, the Committee makes the following four key recommendations: -


  • the UK Government should task the OTS with carrying out a review of the complexities of SDLT in the UK and presenting options for reform;
  • the previous flat rate banding system for calculating SDLT should be reinstated;
  • the additional 3 percent surcharge should be removed; and
  • the proposed additional one percent surcharge on non-residents should not proceed.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer has also responded to the OTS report on simplifying everyday tax for smaller businesses. According to the letter, the Government has accepted most the report’s core recommendations. The letter also contains a table setting out the Government’s response to each of the recommendations.