UK lifts tax threat on domain names

The UK Treasury has lifted a tax threat to dotcom millionaires who made money from the sale of internet domain names.

In the early days of the web, internet entrepreneurs secured some of the most sought after names, selling them at inflated prices as the net 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, Johnson said a Tory amendment to ensure domain names are treated as “intellectual property”, which is exempt from stamp duty, is unnecessary because domain names already are.

The main requirement for exemption, she said, is that the names are protected by trademark or copyright.

However, Conservative MP 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 relates to the company and how much relates to patents, trademarks and copyright.

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