TaxCorporate TaxTax: News in brief

Tax: News in brief

The government is to abolish stamp duty on business property purchases in the 2,000 most deprived wards in the UK. Chancellor Gordon Brown announced the proposed exemption in a keynote speech at an Urban Summit in Birmingham spelling out his proposals for reviving the economy of depressed areas.

Brown ruled out 1980s-style enterprise zones, which used a bricks-and-mortar approach, claiming it would merely tempt businesses to move from one area to another with no net development gain.

Homestyle, the UK furniture retailer, was left reeling after it learned that it might have to pay an extra £23m in sales taxes. Customs & Excise had called into question the amount it paid on product guarantees sold between December 1999 and April 2001. Homestyle had been paying just 5% on the portion of bills that it claimed covered the guarantee, but Customs officials argued it was due the full 17.5% rate. Homestyle chief executive Michael Rosenblatt said he would challenge the demand.

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