A stamp duty dodging scheme is reportedly costing up to £1bn in potential Government revenue from house sales. Research indicates that as much as one in three sales over £1m are avoiding the 5% Stamp duty.
This popular avoidance system involves the use of offshore companies to transfer ownership of a property. In this case, the deeds to a property are transferred to an offshore company who keep it as an asset. This is entirely legal, but it means that when the property is next sold the purchaser has the option of purchasing the offshore company in its entirety and assuming ‘de facto’ ownership of the property
For people who can’t afford off shore companies, please note, the stamp-duty ‘holiday’ for first time buyers is to end, as planned, on 24 March 2012 due to the lack of a noticeable affect on first time buyers entering the market