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Stamp Duty

Volume 400: debated on Monday 3 March 2003

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To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received about the number of house buyers who have unnecessarily paid stamp duty because of inaccurate information provided by the Inland Revenue relating to post codes; how many people have been affected; and if he will make a statement. [98547]

Relief from stamp duty in disadvantaged areas was implemented by this Government on 30 November 2001, exempting from stamp duty all property transactions below £150,000 in around 2,000 of the most deprived areas of the UK. We intend to abolish this cap for non-residential property this year.Qualifying areas in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are defined in regulations by reference to electoral wards. As with other tax reliefs, the onus is on the customer to claim this relief. To help customers to identify whether they can claim the relief, the Inland Revenue has made available a postcode search facility on its website. The Inland Revenue is aware that there have been some problems with this tool, particularly where properties straddle ward boundaries or are new developments. As soon as the Inland Revenue has become aware of any shortcomings in the system, they have rectified them and any customer who has paid stamp duty and subsequently discovers relief was due may claim a full repayment of the duty with interest from the Inland Revenue. As an indication of the number of people who have not claimed the relief but have subsequently claimed a repayment, the Inland Revenue currently processes around 300 claims for repayment per month.