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Permanent extension of stamp duty threshold could provide £139m per year tax boost

Retaining the threshold for paying Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) at its current level of £500,000 would provide new tax revenues – generated by higher transaction volumes, increased property prices, household consumption, and housing market activity – ranging between £2.3bn and £4.1bn, according to research commissioned by Kensington Mortgages.

The analysis by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) found that in the upper bound estimate this would lead to a fiscal surplus of £139m.

If the threshold was lowered to £450,000, the net increase in tax revenues could rise to £247m. Decreasing the threshold to £300,000 could lead to a surplus of £491m per year.

Since July 2020, a stamp duty holiday has been in place for properties below £500,000 – which make up nearly 90% of transactions in England and Northern Ireland. The holiday is scheduled to end on 31 March 2021. This research indicates that the UK would derive significant socio-economic benefits from scrapping the temporary nature of the holiday.

 Mark Arnold, CEO, Kensington Mortgages, said: “This research demonstrates what we all intuitively know – that the stamp duty holiday has been very positive for the economy at a critical time.

“The threshold level should be considered ripe for permanent reform. The upper bound estimates of our analysis suggest that the Treasury could have its cake and eat it, achieving a fiscal surplus whilst boosting the economy. It could unlock housing market activity and pay for 4,000 additional nurses in one fell swoop*.

“Furthermore, aside from updating the threshold to reflect real world house prices, the maintenance of the £500,000 threshold could address some structural problems with the UK housing market.

“It could lead to greater regional mobility – with ancillary trickle-down benefits – as well as also stimulate more downsizing, freeing up family homes and helping to address this vital stock shortage. We believe now is the time to be bold and keep the threshold at its current position, or at least consider amending it to a higher level than the previous £125,000.”

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