Almost two million homeowners have been forced to take out short-term loans or emergency credit to cover the cost of unexpected stamp duty payments, new research has found.
According to stamp duty specialists Cornerstone Tax – which commissioned the research – around 120,000 people in the UK are owed refunds on their stamp duty.
However, when asked if they were aware that they could have overpaid on their stamp duty, 61 per cent – equivalent to 15m homeowners – said that they have never even considered whether there was a mistake in the stamp duty they paid.
“These statistics are shocking, if not wholly surprising, when you consider how many amendments have been made to stamp duty in the past few decades,” said David Hannah, principle consultant and founder of Cornerstone Tax.
“While the percentage payment bands at higher property values is fairly straightforward, the number of exemptions and surcharges on different kinds of homes becomes incredibly confusing for even the solicitors and conveyancers advising on these transactions.
“The law around [stamp duty] is incredibly complex and many advisors who help consumers evaluate how much they should pay are trained only to differentiate between residential and commercial property.
“They simply aren’t familiar with the intricacies of the law’s evaluation criteria, which has led to many consumers being mis-advised unintentionally.”
In July, Chancellor Rishi Sunak introduced a stamp duty holiday for new homebuyers, eliminating the tax on property purchases up to the value of £500,000.
The holiday is set to end in March, but Cornerstone Tax has pointed out that “the complexities of stamp duty land tax are no clearer.”