21 May Stamp Duty – HMRC confirms electronic stamping is here to stay
HMRC modernises stamping process
The silver lining to the dark cloud of COVID-19 will be the various technological advancements and developments that have been created or accelerated during the pandemic.
The process of sending hardcopy documents to HMRC’s offices to have a physical stamp applied to them to evidence payment of the duty has felt outdated for some time. Perhaps it is understandable that the practice of physically stamping documents transferring shares has hung on for so long as the tax is a tax on documents rooted in 19th Century legislation. Nevertheless, the development is welcome.
The Guidance published by HMRC that was amended to introduce the temporary measures in March 2020 has been further amended to remove references to the measures being temporary. Taxpayers should not send forms (or original documents) by post.
HMRC has also confirmed that, in respect of stamp duty paid, and documents submitted, since the temporary COVID measures were put in place, the instrument is duly stamped for all purposes and nothing needs be resubmitted for stamping under the previous physical stamping system.
As under the temporary regime, completed forms should be sent via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Helpfully, HMRC has confirmed that e-signatures will be accepted.
A frustrating aspect of the new permanent procedures is that HMRC will confirm receipt of stamp duty or, as the case may be, that relief has been adjudicated via a hardcopy letter, rather than by email (as under the temporary process). It was, perhaps, too much to wish that HMRC might leap fully into the 21st Century!
Overall, this is a welcome reduction of the administrative burden faced by anyone who needs to ensure that stamp duty is paid or that relief be obtained.
How Elemental Can Help
Elemental’s team of company secretarial experts can provide advice and assistance with share transfers and ensure that the appropriate amount of stamp duty is paid. You can also access a free stock transfer form here.
Our tax specialists can advise on how best to structure the transfer to minimise your tax exposure.