Posted 03rd February 2022 by sdlt-admin
. Lawyers and Pension Advisers assumed Stamp Duty was due on all property transfers into personal pensions
. Many transfers of commercial property into SSAS & SIPP pensions should have been Stamp Duty exempt
. Billions of pounds has potentially been wrongly paid to HMRC on these transfers for the last fifteen years
In July of 2020, the Telegraph was the first UK newspaper to report on an issue which Cornerstone Tax Advisers/SDLT Refunds had been investigating for some time. That issue was the erroneous payment of Stamp Duty (SDLT) on property transfers which were exempt from SDLT – specifically transfers of commercial properties into SSAS and SIPP pension schemes.
These kinds of transfer have been relatively commonplace among small to medium size business owners, representing as they do a confluence of tax efficiencies, which give the pension fund ownership of a sizeable asset that can be rented back to the business, providing an ongoing stream of income into the pension pot. The appeal is obvious.
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The issue was subsequently picked up by other newspapers including the Financial Times, as Cornerstone Tax experts began to work with a few pension firms to check whether their client’s portfolios may have overpaid tax and identify any pension funds which may be due refunds.
HMRC rightly says there is no ‘blanket’ application and that they will consider each case ‘on its merits’, but we have submitted dozens of individual claims for SDLT refunds to them so far and achieved a 100% success rate in reclaiming the overpaid tax.
We’ve also been working to raise awareness of this issue both within the industry itself and by bringing it to outside attention. We asked Baroness Ros Altmann, a former Pensions Minister and campaigner for tax justice in various forms, to look into the matter and she agrees with our position.
How can you reclaim from HMRC?
If you do have a SIPP or SSAS pension and you’ve transferred commercial property into it in the last fifteen years, what should you do? First of all, you need to establish whether Stamp Duty was paid on the transfer – our research indicates that most of these will have done so. Please scroll down and complete our pensions form or contact us.
If it was, and the transfer was within the last four years, then we can act on your behalf to claim a refund direct from HMRC. This may be a complicated process, involving the submission of detailed reasons as to why the tax was inappropriately paid, which legal rules account for the misclassification and submit the relevant replacement return forms to achieve the refund.
If it was more than four years ago, we can assist you in seeking redress from the lawyers and/or pension advisers who were responsible for wrongly advising you at the time.
Make no mistake, the numbers involved here are far from irrelevant – our conservative estimate based on limited available data, is that an average overpayment was around £18,000 per pension fund. The true numbers could be even higher, depending on the property value of each transfer.
We are mindful that there is an urgency to inform people about this, as the clock is ticking. HMRC will only provide the refund of overpaid tax and accumulated interest if a claim is made within four years. After that, you will need to claim from advisory or legal firms, relying on their continued existence and profitability and their willingness to engage – which could be drawn out and difficult.
Please complete the form to see if you are eligible for a refund from HMRC