Complaints in focus:
Stamp Duty

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Summary

The Legal Ombudsman is currently seeing a number of complaints regarding Stamp Duty Land Tax. This is a tax paid when buying a house above a certain value and is collected by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

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Ombudsman report

Business Secretary, Vince Cable, has warned of a “raging housing boom”, particularly in London and the South East. In one sense this is great news for conveyancing lawyers who, having suffered a difficult few years of slow market activity, are now finally getting customers through the door again.

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Case studies

Mr A

Mr A wanted some legal help when buying a new home for him and his family. He used a lawyer who specialises in conveyancing transactions to take care of the legalities and to help with calculating and paying any third party costs. One of the lawyer’s responsibilities was to pay stamp duty...

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Mr & Mrs B

Mr and Mrs B instructed a firm to act for them in the purchase of a new home. The purchase price for the property was £650,000. Prior to completion the firm sent Mr and Mrs B a completion statement and invoice, which confirmed that the stamp duty owed on the property was £26,000

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Mr and Mrs C

Mr and Mrs C received a letter from HMRC sometime after moving into their new home stating that they owed £15,000 in stamp duty plus interest. This came as a major surprise to the couple since they had paid a lawyer to settle the stamp duty payment on their behalf.

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Ms D

Ms D had instructed a law firm ten years previously to help her purchase a property. In particular, she had wanted the firm to take care of paying her stamp duty and to complete the land registry forms...

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Mr and Mrs E

Mr and Mrs E used a law firm to help them buy a new home shortly after getting married. The firm sent them a completion statement, which stated that they required £110,000 to complete the purchase...

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Mr F

Mr F appointed a law firm in 2009 to act in the purchase of a new property. The purchase price was £400,000; Mr F therefore paid £12,000 to the firm to cover stamp duty in addition to the firm’s costs.

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