This tip is about "transfers of a going concern" or "TOGCs" (which are outside the scope of VAT). This is a reminder that HMRC changed its practice a few years ago and decided a surrender of a lease by a tenant who was subletting can be a TOGC (subject to satisfying a few relatively simple conditions).

This can be advantageous in ensuring your tenant doesn't have to charge you VAT on any premium (which includes non-cash consideration) you pay them to surrender their lease to you. Where your tenant sublets the property they will often have opted to tax the land and while the VAT they charge you might be recoverable, it would increase your SDLT liability.

If your tenant sublets the property therefore, and surrenders their lease to you, be aware that an SDLT saving and cashflow advantage is now accepted by HMRC if the transaction is structured as a TOGC. Also be aware that if you don't structure the transaction properly at the time you can't retrospectively correct a surrender and turn it into a TOGC.