Government urged to review Stamp Duty holiday deadline

19/11/2020

The Stamp Duty holiday came into play earlier this year and is currently due to remain in effect until March 31, 2021. But will the Stamp Duty holiday be extended?


What is Stamp Duty?

Stamp Duty land tax is a lump-sum tax payment. You must pay Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) if you buy a property or land over a certain price in England and Northern Ireland.

In July, Rishi Sunak announced higher stamp duty thresholds as it sought to encourage home moves after the COVID-19 lockdown. The first £500,000 of the purchase of the main residence would be Stamp Duty-free until 31 March. The exemption means buyers can save up to £15,000 in tax. Estate agents, surveyors, and solicitors are pleading with the government to extend the Stamp Duty holiday due to increased pressure on service providers, that are causing delays for buyers and sellers. Data collected by Zoopla shows that there is currently a backlog totalling 420,000 buyers, which equates to £112bn, who are attempting to complete their purchase before the Stamp Duty holiday deadline on 31 March 2021. The disruption caused by Covid-19 has driven up average property transaction time from 12 to 20 weeks putting home movers at risk from missing the Stamp Duty deadline.

A group of property professionals united to write to the Chancellor to request that the stamp duty deadline be extended. The joint letter is signed by 14 trade bodies, including estate agency, surveying, conveyancing, and removals associations. The group is requesting that the government extends the stamp duty holiday by at least six months and has asked for an announcement to be made before Christmas.

Mark Hayward, the chief executive of NAEA Property Mark, said: ‘The stamp duty cliff edge on 31 March could cause thousands of sales to fall at the final hurdle and have a drastic effect on the housing market.’

Will the Stamp Duty holiday be extended?

The government is yet to decide, as it stands the 31 March 2021 deadline won’t be extended. It remains to be seen whether the pleas from industry professionals will make the government have a rethink.

Buy or sell now to benefit from the Stamp Duty holiday

With no guarantees that the stamp duty exemption will be extended beyond next March, the advice to people looking to buy or sell a property remains the same: enter the market now to make sure you benefit.

As well as staying ahead of the March deadline, acting now means buyers and sellers can continue to benefit from an active market. Sellers are likely to sell more quickly and potentially for a higher asking price, while buyers have plenty of properties to choose from and can take advantage of sellers looking to have transactions done and dusted before the New Year.

Residential Conveyancing Solicitors

At Russell & Russell Solicitors we have a specialist Residential Conveyancing Team who can provide expert guidance and services on all areas of property law and conveyancing matters.

If you would like to speak to us regarding Stamp Duty holiday or have any other questions concerning Residential Conveyancing please contact our specialist residential property team on 0800 103 2600 or make an online enquiry.

Please note that this article is meant as general guidance and not intended as legal or professional advice. Updates to the law may have changed since this article was published

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