Tribunal issues warning to deter doubtful SDLT claims

Published: 25th September 2023

Henderson Acquisitions Ltd purchased a property after the occupant died, paying the residential rates of stamp duty land tax (SDLT). Shortly after this, Mr Henderson (a director of the company) visited the property and found that the kitchen ceiling had partially collapsed due to a leak. The damage affected less than half of the property, with the other half being safe to use whilst the damage was repaired. The central heating system needed to be replaced and there were multiple issues with the electrics that presented a fire hazard. Due to the issues with this property, a firm called Stamp Duty Savers advised Mr Henderson that the property was not suitable for use as a dwelling, lower rates of SDLT should have been paid and a claim was lodged for a repayment. HMRC disagreed and the matter was referred to the FTT.

The appeal was dismissed because the FTT found that only part of the building had fallen into a state of disrepair;  the company did not purchase a non-residential property and turn it into a dwelling.

The FTT also included the following warning to deter further cases on this point “We consider it important that there be a further published decision on this issue in order to protect taxpayers such as the appellant from being persuaded to make unmeritorious claims for repayment of SDLT contrary to the purpose and intention of the statutory provisions.”

tribunal issues warning to deter doubtful sdlt claims
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