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Backwards-looking interpretations of FA 2003, s 75A

04 December 2023 / Jewook Ryou
Issue: 4916 / Categories: Comment & Analysis , HMRC , SDLT , Budget/Finance Act
Looking back

Key points

  • The broadly drafted provisions of FA 2003 s 75A mean that even though the sale of properties under non-residential rates under s 55 is permitted they may nonetheless fall within the ambit of anti-avoidance.
  • Any change to s 55 may be made redundant if HMRC policy changes to enforce s 75A in this way (‘backwards-looking interpretations’ of s 75A).
  • This illustrates the need for practitioners to take care with even explicitly permitted regimes and the need for clearer guidelines on HMRC policy.

The SDLT provisions are sometimes sloppily drafted and difficult to predict – none more so than the broadly drafted s 75A anti-avoidance rule. While s 75A is a versatile tool to prevent tax avoidance it can be interpreted to cover previously legitimate transactions. Following the consultation by HMRC on apportioning SDLT rates between residential and non-residential properties in linked transactions (

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