A fresh look at property

Mention devolution and thoughts inevitably turn to Scotland and the question of a possible referendum. Against this background and almost slipping under the radar, Wales is quietly increasing its own devolved powers. For example, from 31 December 2011, Wales took full responsibility for its own building regulations.

One of the first steps announced by the Welsh Government is the intention to raise energy performance standards for new homes with the aim of delivering an improvement of 55% on 2006 standards. It will be fascinating to watch the development of Welsh v English building regulations over the next few years and analyse the influences which are brought to bear on developing regulations within the two countries.

One aspect of property policy which the Welsh Government has no control over at present is the rate of Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT). Whilst reports on SDLT have been quiet of late, this is likely to change soon due to the impending cessation of SDLT relief for first time buyers. With no transitional relief, transactions with an effective completion date of 25 March or later will be affected. This could lead to a short term flurry of purchases completing in early March.

Across the UK property prices continue to give a mixed picture with Nationwide reporting rises in 2011 for nine out of thirteen regions. Despite this, a report by Lloyds TSB commercial reveals that businesses which deal in property are generally planning to invest in their portfolios in 2012. As with any property transaction, these businesses are well advised to take strong tax advice at the outset to maximise any tax potential. With the top rate of SDLT alone standing at 5%, not to mention the tax implications of corporate structure, those who invest in property without considering the tax implications do so at their cost.

As tax mitigation specialists Newshams are able to give advice on SDLT and other taxes, how tax may affect any private or business transaction and how to put in place an effective mitigation strategy.

Contact us now on 020 7470 8820 and ask to speak to a tax adviser about how we can reduce the tax costs on your corporate transaction or e-mail us at enquiries@newshams.com and we’ll get straight back to you.

13 January 2012

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