Will Forster

Mayor of Woking and Lib Dem County Councillor for Woking South Learn more

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Woking Council avoids £3 million in tax on Dukes Court

by willforster on 14 December, 2017

Woking Borough Council saved £3 million in Stamp Duty when it acquired the Dukes Court office building by purchasing a holding company.

The Council agreed to buy the office block for just over £72 million, but will pay a maximum of just £360,000 in Stamp Duty on the deal by purchasing the Luxembourg-registered company that owns the building, rather than the building itself.  Had Woking Borough Council bought the building and not the company for that price, it would have been liable for around £3.6 million in stamp duty.

There is no suggestion the Council acted illegally in making this deal, but this news goes to show that the Britain’s rules on tax avoidance leave a lot to be desired – the Conservative Government keeps on saying they want to focus on the ‘just about managing’, yet their actions show the rules are designed to favour the rich and powerful.

It is completely wrong for Woking Council and other organisations to be able to avoid paying over £3 million worth of stamp duty, yet ordinary Woking residents have to work hard to save up to pay stamp duty on their homes.  The more organisations or individuals that avoid tax like this, means less money for the NHS, schools and local authorities including Woking Council themselves.

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