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LONDON, March 19 Britain on Wednesday expanded
the pool of residential properties eligible for higher taxes if
bought through a company, an attempt to allay voter concern that
deep-pocketed foreign buyers are using firms to compete with
locals to buy homes.
Finance Minister George Osborne said that Britain would
increase stamp duty to 15 percent on company purchases of
residential properties worth more than 500,000 pounds
In 2012, Britain introduced stamp duty of up to 15 percent
for purchases of more than 2 million pounds through a company.
"We are expanding the new tax we introduced to stop people
avoiding stamp duty by owning homes through a company," Osborne
said in his annual budget speech to parliament .
"From midnight tonight, anyone purchasing residential
property worth over half a million pounds through a corporate
envelope will be required to pay 15 percent stamp duty."
Buyers who are purchasing the property to be rented out
would however not be affected by this change, he said.
An annual charge levied on properties worth over 2 million
pounds would also be extended to those worth over 500,000
pounds, though its introduction will be staggered over the next
two years to avoid burdening genuine rental and development
companies, the Treasury said.
"The government is extending it now clearly to ordinary
overseas people who are buying properties...Clearly he wants to
free up those houses for people based in the UK," said Ros Rowe,
head of property tax at PricewaterhouseCoopers.
"He's done a hit at the top, mansion level which is all
about stamp duty avoidance, and this is about changing
($1 = 0.6034 British Pounds)
(Reporting by Brenda Goh; editing by Guy Faulconbridge)