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Govt pledges tough line to stamp out duty dodgers

The Government has vowed to take a tough line on legal manoeuvres designed to avoid the new 7 per cent stamp duty on homes worth more than £2m.

Lawyers are reportedly finding ways around the new stamp duty by using multi-year leases with values lower than the £2m threshold or selling a third party the right to buy the property at a future date.

Announcing the new rate in last month’s Budget, Chancellor George Osborne said the Government would be “extremely aggressive” on ensuring compliance using new anti-avoidance legislation and promising “punitive charges” for avoiders.

A Treasury spokeswoman says: “It is unacceptable for anyone to seek to avoid paying stamp duty. The Chancellor was clear the Government will not hesitate to act if inappropriate ways around these new rules are found.”

Labour Shadow housing minister Jack Dromey says Labour will be watching the Government’s response to the “scams”.

He says: “Fair taxation is all the more important in tough times and we need determined action to make tax avoidance history.”

MAC Consulting chief executive Mark Chilton says: “Osborne is continually tightening anti-avoidance provisions, so he is likely to stamp out any loopholes that arise.”

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