HMRC hails First-Time Buyers Relief as accountants highlight cheaper, fairer, more effective alternative

Earlier today HMRC issued a press release to highlight that  241,000 first-time buyers had benefitted from their new costly and bureaucratic First Time Buyers Stamp Duty Relief (FTBR), which helps most but not all first-time buyers avoid paying Stamp Duty.

In response, Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT), a professional body with over 140,000 members, has highlighted that a simpler, fairer, cost-free alternative exists – switching Stamp Duty liability from the buyer to the seller.

HM Treasury forecasts that FTBR will cost the taxpayer £670m by 2021-2022, with an additional £5m a year cost following its extension to shared ownership properties last year.

As well as being very costly to the taxpayer, it is unlikely to help most FTBs in the most populated parts of the country – London and the South East – where the average house price in July 2018 was £485,000 and £327,000 respectively.

Phil Hall, AAT Head of Public Affairs & Public Policy, said:

“Switching Stamp Duty liability from the buyer to the seller isn’t a silver bullet for our myriad housing problems but it would make the system fairer because those moving up the ladder would be paying duty on the lower-priced house that they are selling, not the higher-price one they are buying. It would also remove every single first-time buyer from liability, irrespective of the cost of the house they are buying.

“It’s important to highlight that this change would save the taxpayer huge sums of money – almost £700m a year – whilst simultaneously protecting the billions of pounds Stamp Duty raises.”


Kindly shared by Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT)