17 May 2002

NFU stamps on duty

PROPOSED changes to stamp duty calculations which would increase the cost of long-term agricultural tenancies should be abandoned, says the NFU.

The Inland Revenue launched a consultation on changes to stamp duty after the recent Budget. But Bob Pick, NFU tenants chairman, said that higher stamp duty would put longer-term lets further out of the reach of farmers, particularly new entrants.

"The ideas mooted in the consultation are very worrying," he said. "They fly in the face of the Curry report and the DEFRA review of farm business tenancies, which recommend a review of the tax position of FBTs to see how changes could encourage longer lets."

"Proposals in the Inland Revenue consultation would increase stamp duty significantly on longer lets, and the sums would have to be paid up front."

Terry Donaldson, NFU taxation adviser, said all agricultural land deals should be exempt from stamp duty.

"Given the frequency of transactions, stamp duty represents a significant additional cost. And, land prices have increased by little more than inflation, so there is no need to impose stamp duty to have a deflationary effect on land." &#42