Law Society publish new guidelines in final countdown on stamp duty holiday

As the 30 June stamp duty land tax (SDLT) holiday deadline approaches, the Law Society has published new guidance for under-pressure conveyancing solicitors.

The guidance covers managing clients’ expectations and offers practical suggestions for dealing with transactions.

The Chancellor Rishi Sunak extended the SDLT holiday in the March budget. Once the 30 June deadline passes, a new tapered rate will come into force and run from July to the end of September.

In Wales meanwhile, the Land Transaction Tax (LTT) concession will come to a hard end on 30 June with no tapering arrangements after this date.

“We understand the terrific pressure that conveyancers are under ahead of the 30 June deadline, pressure that many solicitors have now been under for some time as they continue to work under the most challenging circumstances,”

said Law Society of England and Wales president I. Stephanie Boyce.

“Stressed and under-pressure solicitors have been working late into the night and over weekends, with little or no work-life balance, to ensure their clients’ transactions are able to complete according to their wishes.

“It is key at this stage for conveyancing solicitors to take steps to manage their clients’ expectations about completing in time to take advantage of the stamp duty holiday.

“Many factors limiting the speed of a move – delays in the issuing of search results, delays in mortgage offers being issued, problems in the chain and with dependent transactions – are usually outside the control of the conveyancer. They cannot guarantee transactions will complete before the end of June.”

For England, tips include informing clients of the, admittedly not-so-beneficial, arrangement that will come into force from 1 July, and trying to make sure they have realistic expectations of the impact of not making the 30 June deadline.

Arranging completion dates as much in advance of the end of June is also advised, where possible.

The guidance also looks at the potential impact of the Leasehold Reform Bill and how to prepare for professional indemnity insurance (PII) renewals.

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