SDLT refund ‘predators’ on the rise

The sharp rise in the number of firms claiming to be specialists in securing SDLT refunds has sparked a warning to conveyancers to be extra vigilant with SDLT calculations and checks for homebuying clients, and carry out due diligence on any SDLT specialists they use says Kate Bould, Managing Director at Index West Midlands Property Information.

“An increasing number of firms are contacting homebuyers after completion, suggesting they have been overcharged SDLT and are therefore eligible to claim a refund,”

“These firms are the modern-day ‘ambulance chasers’, and in my view, predators that are capitalising on the buoyant property market triggered by the SDLT holiday period, and exploiting the improved knowledge of SDLT in its wake.”

“Information about every commercial and residential property transaction is published and available on the Land Registry website, and being used by this new breed of companies as a source of potential work.”

“Using it, these SDLT refund businesses identify potential overpaid SDLT, contact the purchaser to suggest a miscalculation has been made, and then offer their help to claim a refund – for a substantial fee, often pitched as on a ‘no-win, no fee’ basis. Unsolicited approaches are pretty much always too good to be true and homebuyers should be told to act with caution and check independently whether a refund is due.”

To date, there have been 49 releases of tax considerations relevant to SDLT, and conveyancers shouldn’t rely on the online SDLT calculator. As well as the homebuyers, solicitors are exposing themselves to risks if a property is mis-classified and the SDLT payable to HMRC miscalculated.”

“Outsourcing SDLT checks and calculations to a registered SDLT specialist is a personal choice, but SDLT is complicated and sometimes reliefs are overlooked, so using an independent is strongly recommended.”

“Index West Midlands works with CapEx Associates providing our solicitor clients access to specialised, independent, tailored, and compliant SDLT advice and support that in turn, gives them assurance that SDLT calculations are accurate.”

 

Kate Bould is Managing Director at Index West Midlands Property Information

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