TAXES

The Daily Telegraph - Property - - Interiors - STEFANIE TREMAIN TAX AD­VISER

QI have just agreed the sale of my home, where I have lived for the past 20 years, and am buying an­other prop­erty, which I in­tend to live in as my main res­i­dence. I also own 50 per cent of a cot­tage in France and three in­vest­ment properties in the UK, one of which is cur­rently be­ing sold.

I’m un­der the im­pres­sion that I don’t have to pay the 3 per cent stamp duty sur­charge on my home, as I am sim­ply sell­ing my main res­i­dence and buying an­other. The in­for­ma­tion on HMRC’s web­site seems to con­firm this.

How­ever, my so­lic­i­tor has now back­tracked and has stated that I am li­able for the ad­di­tional 3 per cent.

Please are you able to clar­ify the rules for me? The ad­di­tional tax will amount to al­most £16,000 – a not in­con­sid­er­able amount. I am 70 years old and would like this to be my fi­nal move and still have enough money left to en­joy my later years.

AFR, SOM­ER­SET

The Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) rules ap­ply to mar­ried cou­ples as if they are buying the prop­erty to­gether, so if you are mar­ried and your spouse or civil part­ner owns an in­ter­est in a prop­erty any­where in the world, the po­si­tion may be dif­fer­ent. As­sum­ing this is not the case, then pro­vided the new prop­erty is be­ing pur­chased to re­place your main res­i­dence, the ex­tra 3 per cent SDLT sur­charge will not ap­ply.

This is ir­re­spec­tive of the fact that you are the owner of the in­vest­ment properties and a part owner of the French cot­tage. If there is a de­lay in sell­ing your cur­rent home (such that it has not been sold on the day you com­plete on the new house) then you will need to pay the SDLT sur­charge on the pur­chase of the new house within 14 days of com­ple­tion. You would, how­ever, be able to claim a re­fund, pro­vided your old home was sold within 36 months of the new pur­chase and you made your claim no later than 12 months af­ter the sale.

Stefanie Tremain is a pri­vate client ad­viser spe­cial­is­ing in UK tax at ac­coun­tancy firm Blick Rothen­berg

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