A client of the firm is buying a house and the seller has suggested they sell some of the contents to our client for £13,000. The seller has stated that our client would not have to pay stamp duty on that extra sum for these items. Our client wanted to know if the vendor was correct about the stamp duty?
Our advice was that in general, stamp duty is only payable when a buyer purchases a residential property for more than £125,000. Sometimes different rules and rates apply — for example, when the buyer is a first timer, or if the purchase means the buyer will own more than one residential property.
Stamp duty is payable on land which includes buildings and fixtures. Items annexed to land and property are classed as fixtures, for example, fitted wardrobes and fitted kitchen cupboards. Stamp duty is not payable on items which are not classed as fixtures, such as curtains, blinds and carpets.
If our client decides to buy some of the contents from the seller then these should be listed and priced separately and the list should be annexed to the contract. It is very important that any sum of money attributed to chattels is calculated on a just and reasonable basis.
The value must not be overinflated as that could amount to a fraud on HM Revenue & Customs and you and your solicitor could face criminal sanctions, while the contract could be unenforceable.