Brexit subdues property tax take

Brexit had a dampening effect on stamp duty land tax (SDLT) receipts at the end of last year with the figure flatlining at £3.3bn, less than 1% ahead of the tax take recorded in the same quarter in 2018

There were 314,700 transactions in the quarter, very similar to Q4 2018, and residential stamp duty land tax (SDLT) receipts remained unchanged whilst non-residential receipts increased by less than 2% from £959m in Q4 2018 to £975m in Q4 2019.

Residential transactions increased by less than 1%, from 285,200 in Q4 2018 to 285,700 in Q4 2019.  Liable residential transactions also increased by less than 1%, between Q4 2018 and Q4 2019 (from 188,900 to 189,300).

Non-residential transactions decreased by 4% from 30,100 in Q4 2018 to 29,000 Q4 2019, with the majority of this decrease relating directly to changes in non-liable claims.

Claims for first time buyer’s relief hit a record high of £154m in Q4 2019, the highest quarterly figure since its introduction, with a 7% increase since Q4 2018.

HMRC’s analysis shows the total amount of tax foregone since the introduction of first time buyer’s relief in November 2017 now tops £1bn.

The relief applies to purchases of dwellings for £500,000 or less, provided the purchaser has never owned a property and intends to occupy the property as their only or main residence. Under the relief, transactions valued at £300,000 or less are not liable.

Transactions valued at more than £300,000 but less than £500,000 are liable to pay 5% SDLT on the portion over £300,000.

HMRC data shows 22%, or 62,800, residential transactions claimed first time buyer’s relief in Q4 2019, similar to the 21% reported for Q4 2018.

Of these, 48,400 transactions were non-liable and paid no SDLT. In total, there have been 464,700 claims since the relief’s introduction. The estimated total amount relieved over that period is £1.1bn.

Quarterly SDLT statistics

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