The Finance Bill 2013 will replace the existing section 45, Finance Act 2003 (transfer of rights) with a new SDLT regime governing ‘pre-completion transactions’. The new regime will be contained in the new Schedule 2A, Finance Act 2003. On 28 March 2013, HMRC published draft guidance on the new regime. The final version of this guidance will be incorporated into the SDLT manual.

Under the new regime, the intermediate purchaser and the ultimate purchaser will be treated as acquiring a chargeable interest, meaning the intermediate purchaser will be entitled to claim relief in an SDLT return (but will have to file one to do so).

The new regime will also include a number of anti-avoidance provisions. If there is a “relevant connection between the parties” a minimum consideration rule will be engaged. An assignment of rights of qualified sub-sale relief will not be available if they form part of tax avoidance arrangements (determined on the basis of whether a tax advantage was the main purpose, or one of the main purposes, of the original purchaser entering into the arrangements). It is expressly provided that these two anti-avoidance rules shall not be regarded as limiting the breadth of the anti-avoidance provisions contained in section 75A to 75C, Finance Act 2003.