Johnson considers switching stamp duty from buyer to seller

Boris Johnson, favourite to win the Tory leadership race, has confirmed his interest in switching stamp duty liability from the house buyer to the seller, as proposed by the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT).

Johnson has already proposed an overhaul of stamp duty in the event of a no-deal Brexit, which would include abolishing the tax for all homes under £500,000 and cutting the higher rate threshold back to 7 per cent from 12 per cent.

Last year Johnson argued that stamp duty was “absurdly high” and, earlier this month, met with AAT and agreed to examine their stamp duty recommendation further and requested further information.

The proposals from the AAT would only apply to primary residences, with no changes made to the existing regime for additional residential properties. Also, sellers would pay the stamp duty on all properties but on second homes and buy-to-let properties the surcharge for buyers would continue as at present.

However, the additional charge for overseas property investors would remain in place and be payable by buyers, not the sellers.

AAT head of public policy and public affairs Phil Hall said: “AAT is 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 First Time Buyers' Relief redundant.

“It will also protect the £9bn of revenue Stamp Duty generates as it will still be paid in full, simply by different people. It is also much more progressive as it will be paid on the lower priced property being sold rather than the higher priced property being bought.”

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