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RICS calls for stamp duty reform

08 March 2006
The current system of imposing stamp duty is hampering the property market by keeping out first-time buyers, the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has claimed.

Anyone with a property worth over £120,000 has to pay at least one per cent the value of that property in upfront stamp duty tax.

The RICS wants to see the bottom limit at which stamp duty is payable raised to £150,000, which it claims would keep 50 per cent of properties outside the tax.

Then, turning to the concerns of those with more expensive properties, it suggests moving from the current slab system to a marginal one, levying tax on the amount by which a property exceeds the cut-off point.

The RICS believes this would be fairer on those properties clustering at the £250,000 and £500,000 thresholds, where the tax rises to three per cent and four per cent respectively.

However, when it comes to properties worth more than £1 million, the body recommends increasing the tax to 5.5 per cent.

Chief executive, Louis Armstrong, said: "Our proposed system would be fairer for the house-buying public, ensuring that those who can pay, do pay.

"The long-term gain for people buying and selling their homes would be well worth any temporary market turbulence."

He added that estate agents also support reform of the current system, with 95 per cent of chartered surveyor estate agents believing changes are needed.

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