Wales politics

Land transaction tax help call over Wales border homes

Houses Image copyright PA
Image caption Control of stamp duty on property sales passes to Wales in 2018

Urgent clarification is needed on what the devolution of stamp duty will mean for properties straddling the Wales-England border, solicitors have warned.

Stamp duty will be replaced in Wales by the land transaction tax in April 2018.

Buyers purchasing properties with land in Wales and England face having to make two separate payments.

The Welsh Government said it is working with the Land Registry to identify all properties which could be affected.

According to a recent report by the Welsh Assembly's finance committee, 1,093 registered properties straddle the Wales-England border.

Current legislation states land transaction tax will have to be paid on the proportion of the property in Wales and stamp duty will be raised on the land in England.

As a result, questions have been raised about how the separate valuations should be carried out.

'Provide clarity'

Speaking to the BBC's Sunday Politics Wales programme, Oswestry-based property solicitor Emma Wilde said: "In terms of valuing the two separate areas of land, that's got to be done on a 'just and reasonable' basis.

"There's no further guidance as to what that means.

"I would say we need clarity urgently because I'm conscious the work that will need to be done to be able to provide that clarity is going to take some time so I think we need to be in a position to have some certainty as to the application of the rules in the early part of this year."

There are also calls for the border to be clearly mapped on Land Registry documents to prevent confusion over where the border lies - it does not currently appear on its maps.

Angharad Woodland, from the Law Society, said: "Welsh Government will have to get together with Land Registry and there will be a cost involved and it will have to be put in place.

"[It] needs to be put in place on day one because if it isn't, Welsh Government will not get the tax it's entitled to because people simply won't know to pay it to them."

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Media captionCalls for clarification over stamp duty

Simon Thomas AM, chairman of the finance committee, told the programme the Welsh Government "needs to get hold of this issue because the scale of it is bigger than Welsh Government thought".

"They need to take the leadership over the next year or so, so that people understand what their responsibilities need to be," Mr Thomas said.

A Welsh Government spokeswoman said: "Under these rules, there may be cases where some taxpayers have to submit two returns [make two payments] if the transactions are notifiable in both England and Wales and therefore pay tax according to the rules under stamp duty land tax and land transaction tax."

It was working with the Land Registry to identify properties straddling the order, the spokeswoman said, adding: "Work has also started to establish the titles where the border is already mapped and ensure the border is on all titles."

A Land Registry spokeswoman described it as a "complex issue" but said it was working with the Welsh Government and HMRC to "establish how we will be able to assist taxpayers in identifying where the border lies in the respective titles".

"We are confident that an appropriate resolution to this issue will be found," she added.

  • Sunday Politics is on BBC One Wales at 11:00 GMT, 22 January

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