Portman: Stamp duty tax at £1bn per quarter

07 September 2006
According to Portman Building Society, UK homeowners pay the government an average of £3,735 in stamp duty per property, which, in the second quarter of 2006, amounted to over £1 billion.

This is an increase of around £230 million on the amount paid during the first quarter of the year, which fell before the threshold for the tax was raised in this year's budget.

The per property average is also substantially greater than the similar figure from the first quarter of 2005, which was before the major change in stamp duty threshold when the government doubled the limit from £60,000 to £120,000.

Matthew Wyles, group development director at Portman, said that the tax continued to be "deeply unfair" because of the nature of the threshold system and urged the government to make wholesale changes, like introducing an elevated system of eligibility.

"The burden of this tax will continue to increase unless the government undertakes a radical alteration to its policy in this area," he said.

"[The government should] abandon its current strategy of making the occasional cosmetic tweak to the threshold to keep criticism at bay."

Mr Wyles argued that in its current form, stamp duty remained a tax that heavily favoured those making house purchases in less affluent areas where property prices were lower and could fall below the threshold.

The average property value is now over £20,000 above the £125,000 level, according to May 2006 figures from the Department for Communities and Local Government.

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