To stimulate immediate momentum in the property market and to support the jobs of people whose employment relied on custom from the property industry, the government decided to introduce a temporary Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) holiday as relief. This relief increased the starting threshold of residential SDLT from £125,000 to £500,000 from the 8 July 2020 until 31 March 2021. A similar holiday is in place in Scotland although with a £250,000 threshold set until 31 March too.

A petition calling for the government to extend the SDLT holiday until September 2021 has now attracted more than 86,000 signatures, up from just over 54,000 earlier this week. At 100,000 signatures, the petition to extend the stamp duty holiday will be considered for debate in Parliament.

Delays are holding up homebuyers as the current lockdown places extra pressure on conveyancing solicitors, mortgage lenders and surveyors, struggling to push through purchases.

Todays Conveyancer published an article this week detailing law firm Dutton Gregorys promise to clients. They have unveiled their latest campaign promising if they don’t complete a client’s property purchase before the deadline, client’s won’t have to pay their conveyancing fees.

In a press release on their website, it says:

“Dutton Gregory want to do everything in their power to ensure all their clients affected by the Stamp Duty Holiday complete before the deadline – alleviating stresses where possible and saving thousands of pounds in the process.”

Would you follow Dutton Gregory in a similar campaign your own firm?

Is extending the SDLT holiday scheme for those already committed to the process the right thing to do or is it going to reach a chaotic end? We have seen a dramatic change to the furlough policy and could we see the same again here?

The latest lock down is only further adding to the pressure on current property transactions, with many working from home, many having children with home schooling obligations and many unfortunately falling ill. Many firms are beginning to fear the potential for negligence claims rising if they don’t get deals completed before the deadline.

While the transaction of buying and selling a property differs quite substantially between Scotland and England with most notably the completion date being agreed at different stages of the process, will the UK be united in its approach? Could the Scottish Government make a marked distinction between Scotland and the rest of the UK by extending the LBTT holiday beyond the current March 31st deadline? The Treasury has already said that it has no plans to extend the deadline so Nicola Sturgeon could make a competitive difference for Scotland by extending the tax holiday north of the Border.

The amount of legal cashiering work approaching this deadline may be impractical for many firms to meet. During this time it is more important than ever to be accurate, efficient and compliant. We help over 200 law firms in the UK so they can concentrate on their legal work. This is the ideal time to outsource your legal accounting to our experts. Contact us today. 

Emma O’Day, Head of Marketing and Communications at Cashroom