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Stamp duty tax take on course to hit fresh high

Written by: Shekina Tuahene
Government coffers from stamp duty are set to swell to a new high, exceeding last year's record intake.

In May, £1.2bn was collected by the taxman, slightly down on £1.4bn in April. 

However, compared to May last year, this was almost double the £652m taxed on property purchases when the stamp duty holiday was still in place. 

Additionally, the intake in May this year was up on the £831m collected during May 2019, before the onset of the pandemic and without any tax incentives on property purchases for the majority of buyers. 

So far this year, HMRC has received £6.2bn in stamp duty land tax receipts, a 47% increase on the £4.2bn intake during the same period last year. 

Last year, stamp duty receipts hit a high of £18.6bn, and given the data so far, they’re on course to pass this figure this year.

Just this week, analysis by the HomeOwners Alliance revealed that rising house prices had pushed more first-time buyers into paying the property tax.  

It comes as the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics recorded average house prices in the UK at £281,800 in April. 

‘Exemption for first-time buyers looks less generous’

Jonathan Stinton, head of intermediary relationships at Coventry Building Society, said: “Last year was a record year for stamp duty receipts and it’s beginning to look like 2022 could top those levels. It’s good news for the Treasury but bad news for home movers and buyers who are seeing the costs of moving home rise relentlessly.  

“House prices continue to increase but the tax thresholds for moving home haven’t budged since 2014. Even the exemption for first-time buyers looks less and less generous in many parts of the country. Last year’s stamp duty holiday showed that it’s possible to reduce the burden on homebuyers and still see a healthy return to the Treasury. And there are more creative solutions available, such as incentives for greener, more energy-efficient properties. Review and reform of stamp duty looks long overdue.” 

Inheritance tax intake rises 

Inheritance tax receipts totalled £1.1bn for April to May 2022, up £100m on the amount collected last year. 

There is currently a freeze on inheritance tax thresholds until 2026, and tax is not paid on a deceased person’s estate up to £325,000. Anything above this amount could be subject to up to 40% inheritance tax. 

However, rising property prices have pushed more homes above the threshold. 

Andrew Tully, technical director at Canada Life, said inheritance tax was “continuing to prove itself as a valuable tax for HMRC”. 

He added: “With tax thresholds frozen we will see more unsuspecting families drawn into paying inheritance tax, which has already doubled its tax take over the last 10 years. This surge will partly be driven by the ongoing increase in house prices, as residential property makes up the largest share of most estates. There has also been a higher volume of wealth transfers due to Covid – partly due to more deaths in the elderly population, but also as some people make outright gifts to help family during this difficult period. 

“The legacy from the pandemic may mean more people are open to discussing estate planning with family. Good planning can help to reduce or mitigate inheritance tax so it’s essential to get expert financial advice for tax-efficient ways to pass wealth onto loved ones.” 

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