The government has launched ‘Modernisation of the stamp taxes on shares framework: call for evidence’. The consultation is seeking views on the principles and design of a new framework for taxing shares and securities under Stamp Duty and Stamp Duty Reserve Tax (SDRT), as well as consideration on any modernisation programme.

The government is not seeking views on detailed policy or legislative proposals.

The call for evidence asks for views by 13 October 2020 on:

  • What the principles and design of a new framework for stamp taxes on shares should be.
  • Prioritising changes within the overall modernisation programme.

The call for evidence includes reference to the temporary changes to stamp taxes on shares processes which have been made as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Consultation questions

Question 1: If you were designing a stamp taxes on shares regime from scratch what would your top design principles be? What would you like a new stamp taxes on shares regime to deliver?

Question 2: Do you have experiences of how tax on securities is implemented/collected in other (overseas) tax systems? Do you consider any of these other ways of collecting tax on securities to be more efficient or easier to use?

Question 3: What are your views as to the priority which should be given to elements in any modernisation programme? This will encompass any views on which areas currently cause most problems and which areas would rely on other elements being addressed first.

Question 4: Taking into account the areas discussed in this call for evidence (and any other areas you think are relevant) we would be grateful for any views on the impacts, benefits or drawbacks of combining (as far as possible) Stamp Duty and SDRT as part of modernising the Stamp Duty regime.

Question 5: What would be the benefits and drawbacks of Stamp Duty replicating the territorial scope aspects of the SDRT definition of chargeable securities and/or fully adopting the SDRT definition of chargeable securities? Are there any other options for aligning the scope of Stamp Duty and SDRT and if so what is your reasoning?

Question 6: How would you like the Stamp Duty notification framework to operate? In particular, should there be a greater element of self-assessment?

Question 7: Is it now redundant for the Stamp Duty to be tied to registration of title of shares? Do you think that registrars’ obligations in respect of Stamp Duty should be amended and, if so, in what way?

Question 8: What would be the benefits and drawbacks of making changes to the notification framework before Stamp Duty is digitised (see also section 8 below)?

Question 9: Can you think of improvements other than digitisation that can be made to the current process for collecting Stamp Duty and SDRT?

Question 10: What are your views on the desirability of having the company reliefs applicable to SDRT as well as Stamp Duty? What other Stamp Duty reliefs should also be applicable to SDRT?

Question 11: What is your experience of dealing with “residual securities”? Would you normally expect these securities to be settled by the completion of a stock transfer form?

Question 12: What has been your experience of the COVID-19 temporary changes to the processing of stock transfer forms and other instruments of transfer? Which elements of the temporary processes do you think HMRC should retain?

Question 13: Is there anything you would particularly like to see or not see in a redesign of payments and enforcement for stamp taxes on shares?

Question 14: Do you think the current Stamp Duty payment and enforcement framework is appropriate? If not, what do you think would be appropriate?

Question 15: Should any of the Stamp Duty and SDRT processes in relation to payments and enforcement be aligned? If so, what would be the most effective means of aligning these processes (e.g. charging point, notification, payment, repayment, appeals etc.)?

Question 16: Registration of share title is currently conditional on having the relevant instrument appropriately stamped for Stamp Duty. Is this current conditionality effective as a means of incentivising compliance? If so, is it the most effective means of achieving that? If the answer to either question is “no”, then what would be more effective?

Question 17: Has the fact that HMRC is only able to accept payments and make repayments for Stamp Duty and SDRT electronically rather than by cheque while the temporary processes are in place caused any issues for you or your clients?

Question 18: What are your views on the digitisation of Stamp Duty? Do you think that this is vital for the modernisation of the tax? Do you have any views as to the best method of achieving this?

Question 19: How would you or your clients envisage holding and transferring shares in future?

Question 20: In your view, is the stock transfer form a necessity? Could you and your clients do without a stock transfer form? What other documents could be used, for example, an agreement to transfer?

Question 21: Would an electronic stock transfer form be beneficial?

Question 22: Would it be beneficial for HMRC to continue to allow the use of electronic signatures after the COVID-19 measures have ended?

Question 23: Are there any additional electronic processes which you and/or your clients would like to see after the COVID-19 measures have ended?

Question 24: Do you or your clients envisage using distributed ledger technology to hold records of ownership?

Question 25: Do you or your clients envisage making use of smart contracts?

Question 26: What terms and business practices are not adequately covered in current Stamp Duty and SDRT legislation?

Question 27: Do you have any further comments or thoughts on the current stamp taxes on shares regimes and modernisation of Stamp Duty? To what extent have the COVID-19 temporary changes impacted your thinking?

Background

Responses to this call for evidence should be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Links

Shares, securities & options: Tax compliance
An employer (or another 'responsible person) is required to make an Annual Return to HMRC reporting taxable share related events in relation to employee shareholders and share option holders.

External links

Modernisation of the stamp taxes on shares framework: Call for evidence

Stamp taxes on shares: Consideration Rules Summary of Responses

Stamp Taxes on Shares Consideration Rules: consultation

Stamp duty on paper documents: a way forward to reform, digitise and simplify

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