Posted 30th November 2021 by sdlt-admin
‘How long is a piece of string?’, the old adage goes, but as we know, the simple answer is ‘twice the distance from the middle to one end’. Would that answering questions on HMRC turnaround times was so simple, so here’s how long a Stamp Duty refund can take…
If you have overpaid Stamp Duty and are therefore eligible for a refund, there are different elements to the process of claiming that refund, not all of which are directly in our control.
First of all, there’s establishing that an SDLT refund is indeed due. This is the part of the process over which we – and you – have the most control. The more information you are able to supply to us up front about the property – when it was purchased, what was paid, how it was purchased and full details of the property itself – the quicker we can accurately provide you with an answer as to whether an SDLT refund might be due, and if so, how much it is likely to be.
So far, so straightforward – given the correct information our specialist advisers can usually give you the answer to this initial question within 48 hours. The next step is similarly straightforward. Having established that a refund is due, if you decide to engage our services in recovering it, we will produce a written report detailing to HMRC why exactly a refund is due, what errors were made which resulted in the overpaid Stamp Duty and what amendments need to be made to the SDLT return that was originally filed by your solicitor. This process should normally take no more than 72 hours under our normal service levels.
And that’s the part where our own direct influence over the process comes to an end. Once this report is prepared and sent to HMRC, we find ourselves somewhat ‘in the lap of the gods’, as we wait for them to respond. Depending on a number of factors, this can take anywhere from 2-3 weeks to more than 6 months. The time of year, state of the property market, type of property, complexity of the transaction and even where the property is located can all impact this timescale.
It’s also worth bearing in mind recent reports in the Times of customer service issues with HMRC where they are somewhat overstretched, which has led to longer delays than normal, with waits of up to seven months for responses to questions as well as refunds to taxpayers.
All that might sound a little bit vague – like you’re simply sending off some forms and then waiting with everything up in the air for an indeterminate period of time, but you should remember:
• We deal with the entire matter on your behalf
• We will regularly chase HMRC for updates and keep you informed of any relevant progress
• You pay us no fees unless and until your refund is successfully received from HMRC
It’s tempting to let vague timescales put you off the idea of even bothering to look into something as potentially complex and mysterious as an SDLT refund, but think of it simply like this – no matter the length of that string, or whether you get to it in 2 weeks or 6 months, the reward will be potentially thousands or even tens of thousands of pounds you didn’t know you had, all for the sake of providing us with a few details and letting us take care of the rest.
That’s got to be a question worth asking?