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The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has been vocal about the need for changes to sta

Tax changes needed to incentivise downsizing, RICS says

By Maurice Shasha  //  Mon 22nd October 2018
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) is calling on the government to make changes to stamp duty and council tax to incentivise downsizing and get the market moving.
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) is calling on the government to make changes to stamp duty to encourage people in larger properties to downsize.

RICS has suggested the government should make people moving from larger properties into smaller properties exempt from paying stamp duty. This, in turn, would get the sales market moving, especially in central London, where sales market activity has slowed in the last few years.

In the latest market survey from RICS, almost half suggested making changes to council tax in addition to stamp duty, as this would help people who want to gain a foothold on the property ladder.

RICS Policy Manager, Abdul Choudhury, said: “If we consider tax in terms of how they disincentivise certain behaviours, SDLT makes purchasing, moving and making more effective use of stock costly at a time when we need all these things.”

Choudhury continued: “Providing a stamp duty land tax exemption for downsizers could free up larger, underused properties; but will likely provide them with a market advantage over other participants.

“Similarly, replacing stamp duty land tax with council could increase house buying and selling activity; but increase day-to-day living costs at a time when occupiers are already facing higher bills.”

The RICS survey revealed that many think encouraging people to downsize through tax incentives would get the market moving and free up stock where it is needed.

As such, the professional body is calling on the government to review the entire stamp duty tax system to ensure it best serves market needs.

With the Budget set to be delivered later this month, we’ll have to wait and see what – if any – changes are implemented.

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