New homeowners who realised their dream to buy property in Stockport should be aware of cold calls from scammers advising on speculated stamp duty refund claims.
HMRC revealed that a recent spate of stamp duty refund claims failed to meet very specific criteria.
Much like the Research and Development Tax refunds popular a few years ago, this has been the work of rogue tax agents calling new property owners after finding them through land registry records and property search websites.
The promise of money back through unrealised overpayments on stamp duty is an attractive draw, with over a third of claims for ‘multiple dwelling relief’ refunds being incorrect. HMRC are raising enquiries into the claims, but many are done after the agent has taken their fees – leaving the homeowner facing the pickup of the difference and repaying the interest from incorrect refund claims as well as a potential penalty.
The Hollow Promises
Recently, one homeowner was informed he had overpaid as much as £60,000 worth of stamp duty, claiming that the home may have been designated as two properties despite it being just one.
Other false submissions claim that bedrooms are classed as separate dwellings and in consideration for a ‘multiple dwelling relief’ claims due to the en-suite and built-in wardrobe which could double as a kitchen if simple things like a microwave or kettle were put in.
Another case involved a new homeowner with a six-bedroom home who claimed the property was not residential due to having an office above their detached garage.
Don’t Get Caught Out
Throughout HMRC investigations into these spurious claims, the majority of these claims do not succeed – however, they do lead to unnecessary bills that fall onto the unsuspecting customer. If you do talk with one of these agencies, it is always worth motioning to them that they are responsible for any fines or payments associated with the claim in writing – but that may not protect you.
The No Win, No Fee basis that these agents work with may sound too good to be true, and that is mainly the case. With many new homeowners looking to get as much money as they can during the cost-of-living crisis, promises of easy money must come with real caution.
If you have been approached about a stamp duty refund, it is best to take independent advice – including from your estate agent Stockport.