Alan Pink explains the new rules imposing market value on transactions in shares for stamp duty purposes, as included in Finance Act 2020.
Stamp duty is in many ways a strange and archaic tax, although a lot of work has been done recently on bringing it more ‘up to date’.
Starting off in the 19th Century as purely a low level tax on documents, the scope of stamp duty has gradually been widened, and the incidence of the tax can now be a significant matter for planners to consider, whereas before it was a minor incidental cost of transactions.
One of the ways in which stamp duty betrays its archaic origins, though, is the lack of any presumption, in the absence of specific rules, that market value will be used as the measure of the taxable transaction, rather than the actual consideration that passes for that transaction. Dare I say it, stamp duty was