New data from Cornerstone Tax has revealed that pension savers could be owed up to £6 billion from overpaid Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT).
According to an analysis of tax records, hundreds of transfers of commercial properties into pension schemes may have triggered SDLT where the transactions were exempt from paying the tax.
The House of Lords was recently made aware of this issue by tax experts, winning the support of Baroness Ros Altmann, the former pensions minister.
It has been calculated that up to 75,000 people may have paid stamp duty when a commercial property was transferred into their Small Self-Administered Schemes (SSASs) and Self-Invested Personal Pensions (SIPPs).
This is despite this type of transaction being exempt from tax. As a result, anyone who was subject to SDLT in the last four years as a result of a transfer could be due a refund, which they must claim for.
It is believed that the exemption may have been missed by many conveyancing solicitors who weren’t aware that the transfer was SDLT exempt, due to the unique nature of these transactions.
In particular, some solicitors may have incorrectly assumed that SDLT was due on the transfer of property from multiple owners into SIPPs or SSASs. This particularly affects business owners who may have moved commercial properties that they own into a pension scheme.
In response to the claim, an HMRC spokesperson said: “SDLT is due when property is transferred to a pension fund in the majority of cases. There are only very specific and limited circumstances when it is not due.”