“Lock in” the stamp duty holiday

Calls to the Chancellor to extend the stamp duty holiday may not work – but new build flat owners could benefit if they act now, say leading tax and advisory firm Blick Rothenberg.

Sean Randall a partner at the firm said: “ Efforts are being made to persuade Mr Sunak to extend the stamp duty holiday which is worth up to £15,000 per property.

“ If this does not work buyers worried about completing on or after 1 April 2021 could take the keys or pay 90% of the price before 1 April 2021 which would then give them the benefit. For many this will probably be unrealistic, but it might work for some.

He added: “ For buyers of new-build flats, it may be possible to “lock in” the holiday (legitimately) by paying the first instalment of ground rent before 1 April 2021.”

Sean said: “The Act that introduced the stamp duty holiday already extends the holiday to buyers that ‘substantially perform’ the sale contract before 1 April 2021. For some (e.g., off-plan flat-buyers) this might be worth considering. Retaining the (up to) £15,000 saving might outweigh the negative cash flow cost of paying the tax before completion.”