Building Society proposes shifting stamp duty to sellers

By Lauren Burns

Yorkshire Building Society says shifting the stamp duty tax obligation on to sellers would help more first tie buyers in Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK get on the property ladder.

The average first-time buyer in the UK pays £3,791 in stamp duty according to Yorkshire BS, though it should be noted that the average is greatly distorted by areas with higher property prices. In Northern Ireland the average property price is currently estimated at £123,000 which would not incur any stamp duty land tax at all.

Yorkshire BS say 225,000 first time property buyers in Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK paid stamp duty between June 2015 and June 2016,  and separate research by comparethemarket.com suggests that one in three homeowners rule out a property move because of the stamp duty tax that they would have to pay. Yorkshire Building Society says shifting the stamp duty obligation to the seller would help both first time buyers and home movers.

There are currently no government announcements of any consideration of such a proposal, and there would be some obvious difficulties around introducing such a change. Current property owners who paid stamp duty when they bought could find themselves paying it again when they sold, resulting in a double stamp duty payment for thousands of homeowners. Equally, it would have to be considered how a tax on the seller would work with other taxes such as capital gains tax.

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