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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

High price of missing stamp duty deadline

Time is running out to escape the stamp duty surcharge on buy-to-let properties and second homes and the cost of failure is high.

Tax specialists have warned that many could be caught out because the deadline is 1 April, rather than the start of the new tax year on 6 April.

Missing the deadline by a day would increase the stamp duty on an average property in England and Wales, which costs £188,270, by a hefty £5,648.

In London it could add more than £15,000 to the cost of the average property purchase.

Chris Springett, director at accountancy firm Smith & Williamson, said anyone looking to buy a second home, residential buy-to-let or investment property must be sure they can complete by midnight on 31 March 2016.

This applies unless contracts were exchanged on or before 25 November 2015.

Springett said: “Missing the date by a few days could cost thousands of pounds and I fear many people could inadvertently miss out.”

The stamp duty charge on a property costing £188,270 is currently £1,265, but this will rise fivefold to £6,913 from 1 April, some £5,648 extra.

Stamp duty on the average London property costing £514,097 will more than double from £15,704 to £31,127. 

Chancellor George Osborne is expected to confirm how the new rules will in his Budget on 16 March, days before the new charges kick in. 

Springett added: “The changes are due to apply from April Fool’s Day, so anyone seeking to buy a second home, buy-to-let or residential investment property should keep this in mind.”

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