This Budget confirms the details of and changes to the modernised regime for stamp duty (now also, in some of the Budget Notes referred to as "stamp taxes") which were first announced in the Budget 2002. Most of these come under the heading "Modernising the Taxation of Property". The new regime will apply from 1 December 2003 and apart from stamp duty changes will include a number of anti-avoidance measures to discourage the transfer of properties to companies in certain circumstances and certain other tax changes affecting let property. Further consultation is taking place on transfers into and out of partnerships that hold UK land.
Certain measures are coming into effect from certain dates in April 2003, while most of the new regime from 1 December 2003. The following are the key measures;
- The rates of stamp duty on homes and business property purchases will for the present remain unchanged
- From 15 April 2003 new anti-avoidance measures involving group and acquisition relief clawbacks.
- From 10 April 2003 no stamp duty on all non-residential property transactions in the 2000 Enterprise Areas
- From 1 December 2003 an increased zero rate band upper threshold of £150,000 for commercial property transfers and leases
- From 1 December 2003 abolition of stamp duty on all transactions involving property other than land, shares and interests in partnerships
- From 1 December, subject to consultation, a new lease duty rate of 1 per cent on the net present value of rental payments and a new exemption for commercial leases under £150,000
- From 1 December, ensuring that property purchases by individuals funded through alternative financing arrangements are put on level footing for stamp duty purposes with purchases funded through conventional mortgages.