A domain name is the internet address for a website, such as www.accountancyage.com, which has to be registered in order for a site to operate at that location. In the early days of the World Wide Web, internet entrepreneurs secured some of the most-sought after names, selling them at inflated prices as the internet grew.
And now economic secretary Melanie Johnson has declared domain names – and their accompanying goodwill – to be free of stamp duty at up to four per cent.
Speaking during a Finance Bill Committee debate she said a Tory amendment to ensure domain names are treated as ‘intellectual property’, which is exempt from stamp duty was unnecessary because domaian names already were.
The main requirement for exemption, she said, is that the names are protected by trademark or copyright.
But Tory Nick St Aubyn complained that the government’s refusal to exempt goodwill on the sale of a company would create ‘a minefield of disputes between lawyers and accountants’ in sorting out how much goodwill related to the company and how much to patents, trademarks and copyright.
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