A ruling against the misuse of ‘sub-sale’ relief, often used to avoid stamp duty, is expected to net HMRC up to £170 million in tax revenue.
Sub-sale relief is used legitimately to exempt intermediaries, such as housebuilders, from paying stamp duty twice – first when they buy and then and then when they sell on houses.
The ruling falls against the company VGP, which used Sub-sale relief to avoid £290,000 of stamp duty on the purchase of a business park in Stockton-on-Tees in 2006. Simon Yeo, a KPMG stamp duty specialist, told the FT that this is a landmark case that will ‘make people think twice’ about how they use sub-sale relief in the future. He stated: ‘It is clear now that HMRC can go to court and win.’
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