‘Unfair’ SDLT surcharge has left thousands of divorce settlements open to challenge

A three per cent Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) surcharge imposed on purchases of additional properties earlier this year has left thousands of divorce settlements open to challenge.

The surcharge, which took effect on 1 April 2016, was first introduced by former Chancellor George Osborne in a bid to deter buy-to-let investors and free up properties for first-time buyers.

But the reforms have had a knock-on effect on separating couples – leaving ex-partners unable to afford to purchase their own home following a divorce, due to their interest in their former marital home leaving them liable to pay the additional surcharge on purchase of another property.

Furthermore, in other cases, people who have owned a buy-to-let property and a marital home may have previously transferred the second property to a spouse – causing similar complications.

Very often, tax is not accounted for within divorce settlements – and divorcees need to be aware that they are free to contest unfair disadvantage in receiving the surcharge, or to return to an Appeals Court in attempt to have the original settlement thrown out.

Carter Lemon Camerons LLP Solicitors is a City law firm which provides legal services with a personal touch to both commercial and private clients. Unlike many City practices we are happy to act in smaller private legal matters, bringing the same care and consideration as we do to large commercial matters.  For more information about how we can help divorce, separation and related financial matters, please contact Chris Corney or telephone: 020 7406 1000.