HM Revenue & Customs is to change the system it uses to read stamp duty
land tax forms, after complaints by solicitors of consistent errors.
The Law Society has claimed that about a third of stamp duty land tax (SDLT)
forms are being returned to solicitors and their clients because of scanning
errors. HMRC has now reluctantly admitted that about 15% of the errors are down
to its scanners.
The Daily Telegraph reports that Jim Ferguson, stamp taxes business
director at HMRC, has said in a letter to the Law Society that the Treasury had
‘modified the scanning parameters and procedures’ and this should cut the errors
by almost two thirds.
Ferguson said that HMRC had ‘identified a number of modifications to our
system’ that would help create ‘greater flexibility’ in completing the return.
The Law Society had 4,500 solicitors join its campaign to improve the way
stamp duty land tax was collected, and its president, Kevin Martin, said the
changes were ‘great news for solicitors and clients who have experienced
problems with SDLT’.
The Society hopes this will end delays to property registration at the Land
Registry, and prevent many people from being incorrectly fined £100 for late
filing of the form.
The Revenue has maintained the system is working ‘normally’, and blamed 80% of
the mistakes recorded on solicitors and homebuyers filling in the forms
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