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Retrospective measure is just

17 July 2014
Issue: 4461 / Categories: Tax cases , Investments , Land & property

R (on the application of St Matthews West Ltd and others) v HM Treasury (and related applications), Queen’s Bench Division

The applicant taxpayers took part in a stamp duty land tax (SDLT) avoidance scheme. They applied for judicial review of FA 2013 s 194 which amended FA 2003 s 45 with retrospective effect to clarify that the scheme was ineffective.

Mrs Justice Andrews DBE noted many similar schemes had closed down. She said “In the light of the many clear and repeated warnings given to taxpayers and their advisers the claimants had no legitimate expectation that they would be able to acquire property of substantial value and pay only a fraction of the SDLT which would ordinarily have been due on the transfer of that property to them while other taxpayers who acquired land of a similar value and who abided by the spirit of the original legislation paid the SDLT in full.” [sic]

The judge added it was a “legitimate and important aim...

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