Higher Stamp Duty For Buy-To-Let Investors

Politicians have voted to make buy-to-let investors pay higher stamp duty.

The Treasury Minister will decide what higher rate should be implemented on investment properties, second homes, and holiday homes, and to do it by the end of 2022.

The Corporate Services Scrutiny Panel has suggested 2%.

Panel chair Senator Kristina Moore says it's clear that action is needed to reduce housing demand and property prices.

"Introducing a higher rate of stamp duty and LTT (Land Transaction Tax) for buy-to-let investment properties, second homes, and holiday homes will aid in reducing demand for those properties, allowing the property market to be fairer to first-time buyers and owner-occupiers.

This amendment is a call to action, requiring the Minister for Treasury and Resources to bring about changes to combat an issue that is of vital importance to islanders.

It will allow up to a year for these changes to be implemented."

The Treasury Minister asked for the amendment to be rejected.

Deputy Susie Pinel argued that a comprehensive review of stamp duty was already planned for, and the outcome of it should not be pre-determined.

"For their amendment to succeed, without the amendment suggested by the Council of Ministers, then the implementation project to deliver this change to the structure of stamp duty, involving quite complicated legislative changes to define scope and to prevent avoidance, could take officers away from that more fundamental review.

The CSSP amendment also seems to deny the possibility that public engagement on this issue might lead to a different conclusion, and there would be limited scope during 2022 for full engagement with stakeholders and the public, given the constraints of election purdah."

Her attempt to delay this was rejected by 21 votes to 18, with Ministers accused of trying to kick the can down the road and leave the problem to get worse in the meantime.

That was despite the Chief Minister telling States members that there will be a Ministerial decision within the next few days to end share transfer.

"Why do we constantly have to delay action while we review, review, review, consult, consult, consult when sometimes the answers are just staring us right in the face? - Senator Sam Mezec.

"If you can't actually do any initiatives in response to what this Chamber says because you're understaffed, then that's your fault. Get some more staff and get it done! If this body says this is a way forward and we want you to do it, then do it!" - Deputy Geoff Southern.

"There are four months to go before we go into purdah. Let's not keep delaying things, let's do something." - Senator Steve Pallett

"This is a small change and it's one of many very small changes we need to make in order to even to start to address this housing crisis." - Deputy Steve Luce.

The proposal was approved by 35 voted to 11.

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