Beware cold calls about Stamp Duty

Doctors on the move are being warned about cold calls from rogue tax repayment agents advising them to make speculative Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) refund claims, which could leave them with large tax bills. 

The alert to new homeowners follows a spate of Stamp Duty refund claims to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) which failed to meet very specific criteria.

HMRC said the agents have been known to call new property owners after finding them through Land Registry records and property search websites, promising money back on ‘unknowingly overpaid’ Stamp Duty. 

Analysis by tax officials suggests that up to a third of claims for ‘multiple dwelling relief’ refunds were incorrect.

HMRC raises inquiries on these claims, but sometimes that is after the agent has taken their fee, leaving the homeowner to pick up the difference. Incorrect refund claims must be repaid with interest, with some potentially facing penalties as well.

Nicole Newbury, HMRC director for wealthy and mid-sized businesses, said: ‘We are seeing obviously spurious refund claims that are never going to succeed; but will lead to an unnecessary bill for the customer.

‘So we are warning new homeowners not to get caught out by tax repayment agents promising easy money on a “no win, no fee” basis. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. We want to help people get it right and avoid unnecessary tax bills, so treat promises of easy money with real caution.’

Anyone approached about a Stamp Duty refund claim is advised to check with their original conveyancer, take independent professional advice and check HMRC’s guidance by searching ‘Stamp Duty Land Tax’ on GOV.UK. Its helpline is on 0300 2003 510.