Ministry of Wings, Prayers and Comedy

May 19, 2010

In March submitted an FOI request to HM Treasury to ask how it intended to police the status of first time buyers that claim stamp duty land tax relief following Alistair Darling’s threshold revision to £250,000 as per his most recent Budget. We just wondered…


It’s all pretty academic now that the small matter of a brand new Government has rather usurped things of course.

But the letter is worthy of exposure nonetheless simply for the crass ridiculousness of its contents. HM Treasury SDLT Response

The response begins by apologising for the delay in replying and continues by stating that each ‘claim’ for relief is framed within a stamp duty land tax return.

Something that we are all well aware of.

But the nub of the comedy reply is that, apparently, HM Treasury ‘may open an enquiry into any return’. Naturally. But there would be between 400,000 to 700,000 applicable transactions to go through each year, depending on the overall market.

And they then say that, if they choose to, they will ‘seek proof that the purchaser can substantiate their claim’.

Now, how on e a r t h does someone prove that they ARE a first time buyer? How does one prove that they have not at any time owned a property previously? Could you prove that you have never owned a blue jumper or a red car or, say, a hamster?

For goodness sake. Talk about proof of one thing for sure. That the outgoing Government were truly making it all up on a wing and a prayer as they went along. And yes, is it any wonder how HIPs were ever born?