Nicola Laver

Editor, Solicitors Journal

New SDLT holiday deadline sweetened with tapered return to normal rules

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New SDLT holiday deadline sweetened with tapered return to normal rules

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House buyers sighed in relief at further extension to the stamp duty land tax holiday to the end of June 

House buyers, along with their conveyancers, sighed in relief with news of a further extension to the stamp duty land tax (SDLT) holiday to the end of June 2021.

An estimated 100,000 buyers were attempting to beat the 31 March deadline to avoid a tax bill.

Government has also announced a taper approach to smooth the transition to normal SDLT rules. From the 30 June, the nil rate band will reduce from £500,000 to £250,000 until the end of September before reverting to £125,000.

Paul Smee, non-executive chair of the Conveyancing Association, commented: “The Chancellor has recognised the economic boost which an active housing market gives to the wider economy and we are pleased he is not bringing the support of stamp duty relief to an abrupt conclusion at the end of March. 

“A tapered reduction to the relief which we have long advocated will help avoid cliff edges in October. The conveyancing sector does however faces real challenges in meeting the likely volumes of transactions over the next few months but is ready to rise to the challenge.”

David Greene, president of the Law Society, welcomed the extension. He said: “We warned that the combination of the cliff edge and a bottleneck in the property market could see thousands of transactions collapse at the last minute, leaving consumers who are currently in the process of buying a home stranded and out of pocket.”

He added: “The offer of a reduced concession for three months after the end of the full holiday on 30 June will help to reduce the risk of a future cliff edge for consumers. 

“Nonetheless, the design of the extension and tapering of the holiday could encourage consumers to begin new transactions in the expectation of benefitting from the scheme, so the government should remain vigilant to ensure fairness, stability and confidence in the market as the holiday comes to an end.”