Wednesday 16 April 2014

Solicitors default on stamp duty bills

Solicitors are failing to pay the Revenue Commissioners millions of euro in stamp duty that they have received from clients.

From 2006 to 2008 the Law Society had to step in and compensate the Revenue on over 200 occasions each year after solicitors failed to pay stamp duty they had received from clients for the purchase of their houses.

However in a serious escalation of the problem in the first five months of this year solicitors have defaulted on the payment of stamp duty on over 155 occasions, Fine Gael TD Brian Hayes has discovered.

The Director General of the Law Society Ken Murphy admitted "the unravelling of the building boom means we are likely to see quite a few more cases".

He said: "The Law Society takes this very seriously."

And he warned that failure to pass on stamp duty from clients to the Revenue Commissioners "will be treated very severely".

Where a solicitor fails to pay over stamp duty for the purchase of property by a client, once the offending solicitor is 'struck off', the Law Society ultimately compensates the Revenue.

However, affected householders are still technically liable for any interest and penalties from the Revenue over the failure of the solicitor to pay the stamp duty.

Meanwhile, Ken Murphy for the Law Society warned that over the last three years twelve firms have been closed and wound up by the Law Society (to date three have been closed this year) and "in most of these practice closures there were payments made to the Revenue from the Society's Compensation Fund for unpaid stamp duty''.

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