Portman: Buyers shouldn't pay stamp duty

17 May 2006
Portman Building Society has claimed that stamp duty should be levied against property sellers, not buyers, because they are in a better position to pay the tax.

Stamp duty has come under increasing scrutiny since March's budget left the controversial tax largely unchanged and now the latest round of proposed changes has begun.

Matthew Wyles, group development officer for Portman Building Society, claims that the tax "should be based on the ability to pay", rather than levied against the easiest target.

"It's far better to assume a vendor could afford to pay," he said.

"The burden should be moved to the vendor from the buyer," Mr Wyles continued. "It would act as a crude capital gains tax."

Stamp duty traditionally hits first-time buyers hardest as, given the current state of the housing market, they are only just scraping together enough for a deposit, without having to worry about an "unfair tax", as Portman puts it, on top of this.

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