Temporary Changes to SDLT

Yesterday the Chancellor announced a temporary change in the Stamp Duty Land Tax (“SDLT”) thresholds. The changes apply to all properties purchased and new leases granted between 8 July 2020 and 31 March 2021 in England and Northern Ireland.

The 0% bracket has been extended from a cap of £125,000 to £500,000. This will result in nearly 9 out of 10 people having to pay no SDLT on properties purchased between these dates.

For example, a property purchased to live in on or before 7 July 2020 for £500,000 would have cost £15,000 in SDLT. Under the new rules, the same property would incur an SDLT charge of £Nil.

The new rules overrule the First Time Buyer scheme that has been in place since 22 November 2017.

The additional 3% SDLT surcharge on second properties still applies although landlords can still benefit from the threshold increases.

After 31 March 2021, the SDLT thresholds will revert back to the rates and thresholds in place prior to 8 July 2020.

Green Homes Grant

The government will introduce a £2 billion Green Homes Grant, providing at least £2 for every £1 homeowners and landlords spend to make their homes more energy efficient, up to £5,000 per household.

For those on the lowest incomes, the scheme will fully fund energy efficiency measures of up to £10,000 per household. In total this could support over 100,000 green jobs. The government claim that this will be vital for meeting the target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

The scheme aims to upgrade over 600,000 homes across England, with the government hoping to save households hundreds of pounds per year on their energy bills.

Job Retention Bonus

HMRC confirm that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (“CJRS”) has helped 1 million employers protect the jobs of 9 million employees who have been furloughed since its introduction in March 2020. HMRC have confirmed that the previously announced reduction and winding down of the scheme from July will still apply and the CJRS will be closed at the end of October 2020.

However, the announcement earlier today saw the government introduce a Job Retention Bonus as an incentive for employers to retain previously furloughed staff following the closure of the CJRS.

In order to qualify the returning furloughed employees must remain continuously employed by the same employer from the end of the CJRS until 31 January 2021. The employees must also earn above the Lower Earnings Limit of £520 per month on average in this period.

The employer will receive a bonus of £1,000 per furloughed employee that is retained until 31 January 2021. Payment of the bonus will be made in February 2021.

HMRC will announce more technical detail on the Job Retention Bonus before the end of July 2020.

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