Most of the rates and thresholds for Stamp Duty Land Tax remain unchanged, ranging from 1% to 7% for residential property and 1% to 4% for non-residential. However, the 15% charge on transfer of a residential property to a ‘non-natural person’, introduced last year for properties worth over £2m, has been extended with effect from 20 March 2014 to those worth over £500,000. A ‘non-natural person’ includes a company, a partnership including a company or a collective investment scheme. These ‘envelope structures’ have been used in the past to avoid SDLT on future transfers of the property.
As announced a year ago, surrenders of units in UK unit trusts or shares in UK open ended investment companies will no longer be liable to Stamp Duty Reserve Tax with effect from 30 March 2014. This is intended to make the UK a more attractive place to base collective investment schemes.
In addition, the government is abolishing the stamp duty charge on shares traded on ‘recognised growth markets’ such as AIM. This will apply from 28 April 2014.