Property is possibly one of the most difficult professions to be involved in. Whether you’re a conveyancing solicitor, an estate agent, a mortgage adviser, a banker or a project emulator or site finder, the likelihood is that you deal with a massive workload and long hours in a marketplace which is demanding of results and unforgiving of mistakes. First time buyers, investors or even developers want their transactions done to their timetable and in their way, which isn’t always possible given the myriad of external factors.

And on the subject of mistakes, Stamp Duty is one area where it’s particularly costly to make them. In 2019, Advance Mortgage Funding were ordered to pay compensation totalling £30,000 by the Financial Ombudsman to clients they were deemed to have ‘advised’ on the Stamp Duty due on their purchase, having passed on a guesstimate supplied to them by a local solicitor.

In 2020, Womble Bond Dickinson and Howden published an article talking about the recent and substantial increase in claims against law firms for having missed Multiple Dwellings Reliefs claims on purchase transactions on which they had acted, often where properties had an annex.

Insurance industry commentators estimate that Professional Indemnity premiums are set to rise by up to 30% in the coming year, which may drive down the incentive to generate new business and could even threaten the very existence of many smaller firms.

Claim firms aiming to cash in on this latest ‘PPI’ style ‘bonanza’ are encouraging clients to file claims against solicitors, brokers, estate agents and anyone else they might be able to fit in the frame, and the results so far suggest that you may not get the sympathetic hearing you’d expect.

Happily, there is a solution.

Cornerstone can provide full, indemnified, advice on Stamp Duty liability to any of your clients, enabling you to de-risk this potentially costly area of your business.

We provide full case file audits to all property professionals to identify potentially pleasant surprises hiding in their historical caseload, helping them to proactively identify issues in the archives and approach the clients with the good news and a potential refund from HMRC.

We can offer expert opinion to defend against the seemingly inevitable call or letter from a PI claim firm.

Stamp Duty isn’t why you got into property, and it’s certainly not likely to be a specialisation for you to the extent that mistakes can’t be made. Let Cornerstone take the strain, and distance yourself from the pack in the process.

Cornerstone Tax

If you’re a homebuyer, solicitor or agent and require pre or post-transactional advice then please contact us and one of our property tax advisors will be delighted to help.

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