The Government has announced it is relaxing the three-year rule for reclaiming the stamp duty surcharge, a move which is likely to help several hundred households across the UK but also a move which is not seen as a measure to kick-start the property market.
Typically people who purchase new properties before selling their existing property are subject to a 3% surcharge, which they can reclaim provided they are able to complete the sale of their old property within a three year period.
However, the lockdown initiated due to the current pandemic resulted in some of those property owners being unable to complete transactions within the appropriate timeframe.
Initial guidance states that people who purchased a new main residence on or after 1st January 2017 may still be eligible for a refund if they were prevented from completing the sale of the old residence before the end of the three year period owing to exceptional circumstances beyond their control. Sellers will still need to have sold the property as soon as they reasonably could following the relaxation of lockdown restrictions.
The rules relating to Higher Rate Stamp Duty are complex and sellers are urged to seek appropriate advice if they believe they may benefit from this announcement.