In Christian Peter Candy v HMRC  EWCA Civ 1447, the Court of Appeal (CoA) found that the 12-month amendment window could not be extended to recover Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) where a contract was incomplete beyond that date.
- The taxpayer entered into two contracts to purchase a property in August 2012, an initial lease and a secondary lease for consideration of £48m which was paid in instalments.
- The SDLT return was filed in October 2012 and the tax was paid accordingly on the total consideration.
- In April 2014 the taxpayer gifted the property interests to his brother, Nicholas, who took on responsibility for paying the remaining instalments. Special charging provisions applied to the gift which rendered the consideration of £48m for SDLT purposes which was paid by Nicholas.
- The taxpayer then submitted an Amendment to the October 2012 SDLT return seeking repayment of the SDLT paid on the secondary lease as the contract was incomplete.
- HMRC rejected the claim for repayment as it was made outside the 12-month amendment window.
- Following Appeals to the First Tier Tribunal, which found in favour of the taxpayer and the Upper Tribunal which found in favour of HMRC, an appeal was made to the CoA.
The CoA found that:
- While the date of a transaction is normally the date the land transaction completes, if the contract is substantially performed before, the date of substantial performance is the date of the transaction.
- The land transaction was substantially performed in October 2012.
- The tax code provides hard-edged time limits and can work to the benefit or detriment of HMRC and taxpayers.
- The relevant legislation provided a specific mechanism for repayment and this was not displaced. For other taxes, certain time limits were expressly displaced by specific legislation, this was not the case for SDLT in these circumstances.
- The taxpayer’s contention that the time limit could be extended would be open to abuse.
The appeal was dismissed.
Useful guides on this topic
SDLT: Amending returns
How do I amend an SDLT return? When can I amend an SDLT return?
SDLT: At a glance, Stamp Duty Land Tax, rates & allowances
What is Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT)? What are the rates of Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT)?
How to appeal an HMRC decision
Disagree with an HMRC decision? How to appeal, what type of decision can you appeal and what are your different options when you disagree with HMRC? What are the key steps in making an appeal?
Sour taste to Candy’s £48m SDLT amendment
In HMRC v Christian Peter Candy UKUT 0170, the Upper Tribunal (UT) allowed HMRC's appeal, finding an SDLT return could not be amended outside the standard 12-month window. It denied a multi-million-pound Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) repayment.