Homebuyers in England and Wales will, no doubt, be welcoming the prospect of a Boris Johnson-led government following his commitment to switch responsibility for paying stamp duty to home sellers and to scrap the tax on properties worth less than £500,000.
Johnson has made no secret of his desire to undo the work of George Osborne who, as chancellor in 2015, introduced a series of market-cooling measures, amid fears an overheated south-east market could generate a property bubble big enough to crash the entire UK economy.
Scotland has experienced a relative property boom in the past year compared with other parts of the UK, particularly with London and the South-east which have seen property values decline in some areas.
This is despite property tax rates in Scotland – where stamp duty was replaced by the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) – being comparatively higher.
Meanwhile Mr Johnson has already met with the Association of Accounting Technicians to discuss making property sellers, rather than buyers, responsible for paying stamp duty and, predictably for an organisation which has long campaigned in favour of such a move, he was given a warm reception.
Phil Hall, AAT head of public policy and public affairs, said: “We are naturally pleased that Boris has agreed to look at our long-standing proposal to switch Stamp Duty liability from the buyer to the seller.
“This will save the taxpayer £700m a year by rendering the exemption to first-time buyers redundant.
“It will also protect the £9bn of revenue that Stamp Duty generates as it will still be paid in full, simply by different people. It’s much more progressive too, as it will be paid on the lower priced property being sold, rather than the higher priced property being bought.”
For further information on LBTT rates and liabilities phone your local Scottish Property Centre branch of visit www.scottishpropertycentre.net.