Call for inquiry into CIOT and STPG silence on Pensions Stamp Duty Scandal

Posted 06th September 2023 by ctatax-admin

Open letter, sent to CIOT, President of the Law Society and President of the ICAEW


Mr Gary Ashford

30 Monck Street



Dear Mr Ashford,


Call for inquiry into CIOT and STPG silence on Pensions Stamp Duty Scandal

The Primary Purpose of the Chartered Institute of Taxation is “to promote education in taxation. One of our key aims is to achieve a more efficient and less complex tax system for all. Our comments and recommendations on tax issues are made solely in order to achieve this aim; we are an entirely apolitical organisation.”

Since 2020 we have been persistently trying to draw the attention of the UK pensions community to a major problem with the payment of Stamp Duty, in error, where Pension Funds acquire trading properties from their members and other connected parties.

Despite this being a serious national issue, with a potential £30 billion exposureCIOT has singularly failed to make any enquiry of us, or the other stamp duty experts involved, in any sense. Indeed via its sub-organisation the Stamps Taxes Practitioner Group (STPG) the CIOT has promoted articles on its own website and in the Press which have sought to rubbish and dismiss these claims to discourage pension fund members from enquiring if they have overpaid Stamp Duty.

In its original version, CIOT’s publication amounted to nothing less than an attempt to undermine the reputation of those involved and dismiss the problem of SDLT overpayments which is already acknowledged by the legal profession and by PI insurers alike.

This seems to us to be in direct contradiction to the Institute’s primary objective and does the institute no credit whatsoever.

The issue, which has been explored in peer-reviewed technical articles, debated at the STPG conference, opined on by various respected counsel, and received the support of a member of the House of Lords, surely deserved more than the dismissive, not to say deliberately misleading, commentary from the institute.

Given the institute’s stated purpose surely it behoves you to make an enquiry and to seek evidence as to whether this was a problem so that the appropriate representations could be made at an institute level to all the stakeholders in this area?

Instead, the institute by publishing its blog has been involved in an attempt to deter claims from HMRC (and indirectly PI claims against solicitors and others) in order to protect its own interests and those of the members of the STPG including Solicitors and Accountants. This is, in the view of any outside observer, NOT an apolitical position at all and raises serious questions about the impartiality of the Institute.

We call upon you therefore to urgently investigate this issue and we would be happy to cooperate with any enquiry you wish to make and provide such evidence as you might seek to call for.

We can only hope that the institute can be directed to deal with the issues raised and give it the necessary publicity that it deserves as we are aware that these errors continue to be made because of the efforts the institute has so far supported.

We look forward to hearing from you.


Yours Sincerely,


David Hannah

Group Chairman

Cornerstone Group

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