SDLT – The job of a solicitor or tax adviser?
It is the mistaken belief of most house purchasers that your conveyancing solicitor will advise you on the SDLT payable and any reliefs you may be able to claim.
SDLT is a form of tax and is therefore outside of the scope of most conveyancing work, which is essentially the transfer of legal title to property. If not reviewed, as is often the case, SDLT as a consequence can be over or underpaid.
It is important to remember that it is not the job of a solicitor to review and determine the SDLT position of the purchase. Given the raft of anti-avoidance legislation to negotiate, together with the general intricacies of certain land and buildings purchases, reviewing the SDLT position properly takes time and therefore fees, which most purchasers are attempting to cut back rather than increase. Solicitors will not want to appear uncompetitive or, understandably, overly expensive by including an SDLT review in their pricing. Any comments they do make could also make them liable and therefore, as a result, most are reluctant to comment on SDLT at all.
If your purchase is anything other than a simple single property (for example, the property has an annex, or you are buying more than one at the same time, or you will convert the property for use in a business), checking the SDLT position with a tax adviser would be recommended.
For further information on SDLT, please contact Gemma Hedges on 023 8046 1259.