A sudden increase in the tax payable on residential property transactions in Wales has been condemned by the Law Society. The Welsh government announced yesterday that residential rates of land transaction tax will increase by 1 percentage point across all bands from today. The increase applies to completions on or after 22 December.

Solicitors in Wales and their counterparts in England who have clients buying homes in Wales are dismayed by the combination of the announcement’s timing and the short notice, said Law Society president David Greene.

Welsh cottages

Residential rates of land transaction tax rise by one percentage point from today

'These last-minute changes come at a time when solicitors are under enormous pressure, facing the challenge of operating in a pandemic – with Wales just having adopted stricter measures – and working all hours dealing with the usual Christmas rush, clients wishing to move before the 31 March land transaction tax holiday deadline and record numbers of transactions, which are being hit by delays in searches.

'They now have clients who face paying thousands of pounds more if they are unable to proceed with their transaction within the very short notice period given.'

Greene called on the Welsh government to remain vigilant 'to ensure the right balance of stability, fairness and confidence in the market is in place'.