HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) wins tax tribunal disputing stamp duty land tax scheme used by housebuilder Crest Nicholson

Hayley Kirton
Follow Hayley
Report Warns Average Deposit For First Time Buyers In London To Rise To Over 100,000 GBP By 2020
There are around 700 more cases which could be caught under the ruling (Source: Getty)

Crest Nicholson has been told to pay £1.3m it unsuccessfully tried to keep under a stamp duty land tax (SDLT) avoidance scheme after a tribunal found in the taxman's favour.

The FTSE 250 housebuilder had used the scheme to avoid paying SDLT, by transferring assets between two sub-companies, on three purchases of land for development in Kent, which cost more than £32m in total.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) said the first tier tribunal decision, which happened earlier this year but was formally announced by the taxman over the weekend, could affect more than 700 similar cases with £65m of taxes on the line.

Read more: HMRC brings in £5bn in revenue through fraud investigation

The Chertsey-based company also failed to argue HMRC was out of time to legally make assessments of the tax due and had not carried out its assessments properly.

"This decision makes it clear that setting up artificial and complex arrangements involving sub-companies to avoid paying tax doesn't work," said Jennie Granger, HMRC's director general, customer compliance. "It's another important success that's protected taxpayers' money.

"This win sends a clear message that tax avoidance is expensive and self-defeating."

Read more: HMRC's plans to shutter offices will now cost £300m more by 2025

Crest Nicholson has not yet responded to City A.M.'s request for comment.

Related articles