Proposed Duty on Share Transfers

16th July 2014

The States Treasury and Resources Department is consulting the public on its draft proposals for the introduction of document duty anti-avoidance provisions.

Up to 3% document duty is paid on house purchases when the conveyance is registered at the Greffe. Some houses are owned in company names and shares in those companies can be sold – and the company assets transferred – without involving the court or Greffe registration and without attracting document duty.

An arm’s length sale of company shares would in future attract document duty payable on the market value of any real property owned by that company. The parties will be jointly liable to submit a self-assessment and the equivalent of document duty payable within a certain period of the transaction. Self-assessment would be subject to appeal by the Tax Office and failure to comply could render the transaction invalid and may involve fines and even criminal prosecution.

The new proposals also cover transactions involving companies limited by guarantee, foundations, trusts and partnerships - in each case where the transfer of an interest in Guernsey real property is involved. There would be exemptions involving inheritance, trusts, family associated or dissolved marriage transfers, same beneficial ownership, etc.

The consultation period lasts until Friday 15th August and further details of the proposals and consultation process can be found at http://gov.gg/article/113408/Treasury--Resources-consultation-on-document-duty-anti-avoidance-provisions