SDLT relief repayment claim deadline for first-time buyers of shared ownership properties

In November 2017, the Government introduced a Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) relief for first-time buyers of a residential property for use as their only or main residence, where the purchase consideration did not exceed £500,000. No SDLT is due if the purchase consideration does not exceed £300,000, and a 5% rate applies to excess consideration between £300,000 and £500,000.

A number of conditions applied, one of which was that the relief was not available to first time buyers purchasing through approved shared ownership schemes who did not elect to pay SDLT on the market value of the property, but instead paid SDLT in stages.

The relief was extended to such buyers with effect from 29 October 2018, backdated to 22 November 2017. Any eligible purchaser who paid the full amount of SDLT between 22 November 2017 and 28 October 2018 can claim a repayment, with a deadline of 28 October 2019 for submitting a claim.

Claims for refunds must be made in writing to HMRC with relevant details of the transaction, including:

  • The reason why the amendment is being made (i.e. claiming first time buyers’ relief)
  • The UTR for the original SDLT return
  • Revised figures and confirmation of the amount of SDLT to be refunded
  • Confirmation of who to pay.

Claims should be submitted to:

BT – Stamp Duty Land Tax
HM Revenue and Customs

Remember to put your claim in as soon as possible.



The extension of the “off-payroll” working rules to the private sector mentioned above is planned for April 2020 but in the meantime tax tribunal decisions are still being decided against HMRC.

In a recent case involving a radio presenter working for TalkSport, it was decided that the presenter would not have been an employee if directly engaged. A key factor was that the the level of control over the presenter fell far below the sufficient degree required to demonstrate a contract of service.

The accountancy bodies have been lobbying the government to take the decision of the judges in this and the recent case involving Lorraine Kelly into consideration when they update the CEST software used to determine employment status.


Where large or medium-sized organisations are paying workers via personal service companies or agencies they will need to operate new procedures from 6 April 2020.

The new rules will apply to partnerships, LLPs and larger charities as well as limited companies. Only those organisations that would be classed as “small” under the Companies Act criteria will be outside of the new rules.

From 6 April 2020 the end user organisation will be required to determine whether or not the worker would be an employee of the organisation if directly engaged. That determination will need to be communicated to the agency supplying the worker so that income tax and national insurance is deducted from any payments.

The end user organisation should use the Check Employment Status for Tax (CEST) software on the HMRC website to carry out the determination. A copy of the determination should also be given directly to the worker.


Where the worker disagrees with the employment status determination they should contact the end user straight away setting out their grounds for disagreement.

The end user must provide a response within 45 days of receiving the disagreement. During this time they should continue to apply the rules in line with the original determination.


The government have decided to delay the start of the proposed VAT reverse charge for supplies by sub-contractors in the construction sector.

The reason for the u-turn is the lack of awareness of the change that was originally due to start on 1 October 2019. Many sub-contractors, and some main contractors, were not prepared for the changes on top of getting to grips with Making Tax Digital for VAT and consequently the government have decided to delay the start of the new rules for 12 months.

It has also come to light that some of those sub-contractors using the VAT flat rate scheme would be worse off which will require a review of whether that scheme is still worthwhile for them.

Make time for your own personal development

As a leader in your firm, you are focused on developing the people around you. But who is responsible for your own development?

If you want to help your employees to grow and develop, you need to invest time in developing yourself, as a leader.

In order to focus on your own personal development, you need to schedule time to do so. If you don’t, your team and your business could outgrow you and your own career could stagnate.

Lead by example
If you want your team to take the time to invest in their own personal development, you need to lead by example. If you make time to learn and develop new skills, your team are more likely to follow suit. You may even be able to make suggestions to your team members, based on your own learning and development experiences.

Embrace technology
Learning and development doesn’t have to involve taking several days out to attend a conference or training session. There is an ever-expanding range of learning opportunities available online. The beauty of this is that you can take courses and attend webinars at a time that works for you.

Find a topic that interests you
There is no point trying to develop your skills in an area that you have no interest in. You want to feel motivated and keen to develop new skills. Do your research and find a development opportunity that you are passionate about. Personal development should be an interesting opportunity, not a chore.

Distractions can be a good thing
Focusing on your own personal development gives you an opportunity to step back from your day job. We often come up with our best ideas when we are off doing something new or exciting. Taking time away from the day-to-day can help to provide new perspectives on things and re-evaluate your priorities.
When you get back to your desk, you may have new ideas and you should feel re-energised

What to do when a key team member leaves

People move jobs more frequently these days. Here’s what to do when a key team member decides to move on.

As talented employees grow and develop in their careers, it is inevitable that some will decide to branch out and move to another firm.

Be supportive

Congratulate them on their new opportunity. Thank them for their contribution to the firm and mention some of the highlights of their time with your company. You want them to leave on good terms and to remember your firm for the right reasons – that way they will be an ambassador for your business.

Ask questions

Ask them what they are excited about in their new role. This is an ideal opportunity to find out what may not have worked out for them at your firm – so that you can address any potential issues. It can also give you some ideas about what makes other firms more attractive from a career perspective – this could inspire some new thinking around career development at your own firm.

Business as usual

It is important to avoid burning bridges. In our increasingly networked professional circles, there is a good chance that you will cross paths again in the future. While they are working their notice, avoid cancelling meetings, etc. Include them in day to day matters up until the end of their time at your firm – you want them to leave feeling good about your business.

Let them go

There is no point trying to convince an employee to stay. Once they have decided to move on, in their own mind, they have already left. If you encourage them to stay on, they could feel pressured and resent missing out on a good opportunity at their potential new firm. If your business is a genuinely great place to work, they may come back again in the future, with some new ideas gained from their work experiences at other firms.

Building trust as a manager

In order to manage an effective team of people you need to win their trust.

If employees don’t have trust in their company and their managers, they can become disengaged. This can lead to high rates of staff turnover and those who stay are likely to be de-motivated.


Honesty is the best policy. Communicate with your team,

ensure that they are kept in the loop regarding the firm’s strategic plans and that they feel that their views are heard (and listened to), by management. Ask them for their input and where you have made a decision, give them some background information, so that they can better understand the drivers behind that decision.

Employees are people, not numbers

It’s easy to get lost in the numbers. We all love sales figures, KPIs and metrics. However, if you invest some time in getting to know your team members, they will feel valued by the firm. You don’t need to become their best friend but you do need to get to know them better in order to get the best out of them, keep them motivated and help them to progress their careers.

Give credit where it is due

The best managers show appreciation and acknowledge the hard work that is delivered by their people. Various studies have shown that employees who receive recognition from their line managers were significantly more likely to trust them.

Prioritise the team’s interests

To gain their trust, managers should be their team’s best advocate. The best managers present their team in a positive light and are openly proud of their accomplishments. Mistakes should be seen as learning opportunities and managers should take responsibility for putting things right, rather than placing the blame on an individual.

Ask your team for feedback

The best managers ask their team members for feedback. Constructive feedback should always be welcomed. Nobody is perfect and even the best managers can learn from their team members. Asking for feedback will also help you to build trust and rapport with your team members.