HMRC to go online for stamp taxes during coronavirus pandemic

3rd April 2020

HMRC have been making efforts to go online for stamp taxes to help keep administration of taxes going during the pandemic.

Cathy Bryant has written about the temporary arrangements HMRC have put in place for paying stamp duty on share transfers. Rather than physically sending in forms to be stamped on the old Victorian presses, stock transfer forms can now be sent in by email. Another piece Cathy has posted today deals with temporary measures for intra-group relief claims, schemes of arrangement and obtaining HMRC opinions for stamp duty matters.

For land transactions, stamp duty land tax (SDLT) is normally dealt with by means of a land transaction return filed online, although it is possible to send in a paper form.  At a meeting last year, HMRC reported that over 99% of land transaction returns were filed online and a little over 90% of payments of SDLT were made electronically.

Sometimes SDLT is overpaid or some other amendment is needed to the return. These amendments and other correspondence about returns have to be dealt with in writing by sending a letter to HMRC by post.

HMRC have a digital mail scanning system which sorts the post and directs it to the appropriate team automatically.

The Stamp Taxes team at HMRC are looking into the possibility of providing an electronic mailbox to which amendments, claims and other correspondence relating to SDLT can be sent.

However, they are concerned that providing an email address will result in it being immediately swamped with emails relating to all aspects of SDLT such that they would be unable properly to process them. They say that they are looking at how an electronic mailbox could incorporate an automatic sorting process, but other online processes are taking priority during the pandemic.

So, for the moment, these amendments and correspondence will continue to be dealt with by post.

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