Will I need help?
Yes. Most solicitors know how to avoid all or part of the costs of stamp duty and they can put you in touch with specialists who know exactly how to exploit an important loophole.
OK, how does it work?
There are several schemes but the most popular uses concessions granted for Islamic mortgages. Under Islamic law interest is forbidden, so banks can buy a property on behalf of a Muslim client and then lease it to them, so only rent is paid, not interest. Soon afterwards, ownership of the property can be transferred to the client.
Because the purchase has not been “substantially performed”, usually, no stamp duty is paid. This is because the client appears to pay only the final 15 per cent of the purchase price - not normally enough to invite stamp duty.
Where do I start?
You can find specialists on the internet. Start at www.avoidstampduty.com and www.ecademy.com. Top lawyers who prefer not to named confirm that the approach works. The Inland Revenue is aware of the loophole, too, but has taken no action against it - yet.