Posted 14th February 2022 by ctatax-admin
As the old saying goes, the answer to the question ‘How long is a piece of string?’ is ‘Twice the distance from the middle to one end‘.
Unfortunately, when it comes to tax generally and SDLT in particular, easy answers are seldom available – if they were, there’d be no need for tax advisers.
Still, after ‘How much could my Stamp Duty refund be worth?’. The question of how long it might take to obtain is the next most common one. And that’s fair – it makes sense that after finding out how much you could be due, your next priority would be how long it would take to arrive. After all, that’s your money, often not an insignificant amount of it at that, and you need to know when it will be back where it belongs.
The basic answer is that if things run smoothly, no more than six weeks to hit your account from when we first submit the request to HMRC on your behalf. After all, we’ve already done the hard work by that point. We have investigated the transaction, spoken to your lawyers, examined the return as well all the details of the property and how you acquired it, and we have submitted a detailed report to HMRC outlining why the transaction was incorrectly assessed for Stamp Duty, what the correct amount is, and where the refund should be sent.
But – as we are often reminded – it is far from a perfect world. Stamp Duty is an interminably complex tax, with nearly 50 reliefs, exemptions, and exceptions in law at this point. This means that inevitably many errors are made by solicitors when assessing transactions for Stamp Duty. This further means that there are increasing numbers of claims being made, meaning that there is more work for HMRC, inevitably meaning a reduction in the speed at which claims can be processed.
Factor in further that every so often a change in the legislation will be made – the Covid-related ‘Holiday’ up to £500k, the 2016 change to the tax on second residential properties and the recently implemented surcharge on foreign nationals. Each time such a change is made, the whole regime will creak under the weight of an industry struggling to adapt to it. Lawyers will have more questions, HMRC staff will require more training, and the everyday mundanities like dealing with claims will take that little bit longer as a result.
And that’s just dealing with completely straightforward claims with no complications. We then need to consider the fact that HMRC may seek additional details or clarifications on a claim, which can mean weeks of further correspondence, which when added to the complications outlined above can see some claims take months before they are fully resolved.
Wanting to know how much you stand to gain and how soon you can expect to see it are valid and understandable desires. But the question you should really be asking yourself is – how easy will this be for me? And the answer is: very.
Once you have supplied us with the initial information on your purchase and we have established that a claim exists, there’s nothing further for you to do. We will deal directly with HMRC on your behalf. We will collate the relevant data and submit a full report to them. We will deal with any follow-up queries and clarifications. We will keep chasing HMRC until your refund is confirmed and the cheque has been issued.
Most of all, we won’t make false promises to you. It would be easy to say that ‘all claims are processed and received within x number of days’, but this wouldn’t account for the many factors outside our (and your) control.
Our reputation and sterling rating on Trustpilot are built on the solidity and dependability of our services and the satisfaction of our clients. We won’t tell you that you’ve definitely got a claim unless you do, and we won’t promise it’ll be with you by a certain date until we have the cheque in our hands.
What we will promise is an easy, hassle-free experience where you hand the problem to us, and then simply wait for your refund to arrive, safe in the knowledge that the best Stamp Duty Experts in the business are working hard on your behalf to make sure your money goes where it belongs – in your pockets.
Your Refund may take six weeks or six months to be fully resolved. But your satisfaction with a job well done, and your money returned to you with a minimum of fuss – that will last a lifetime.