Law Society calls for extension of Help to Buy Scheme before Finance Bill

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Ahead of the publication of the Finance Bill 2020, the Law Society of Ireland is strongly urging the Government to extend the Help to Buy Scheme to include relief for second-hand homes. In a letter to Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe, the Law Society has also called on the Government to reinstate relief for stamp duty for first-time buyers and to reduce the VAT rate for legal services.  

President of the Law Society of Ireland, Michele O’Boyle, said, “The Finance Bill is one of the most highly anticipated bills published every year. As we know, Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on the economy, and that impact is likely to continue in many sectors for several months and years ahead.”

“In these unprecedented circumstances, carefully considered and robust future planning is essential. We must adopt measures that will protect the medium and long-term success of businesses and benefit all sectors of society,” she said.

“As legal experts working with, and in, communities right across the country, solicitors are well-placed to identify key issues relating to the financial wellbeing of our citizens.”

Ms O’Boyle outlined that ahead of the Finance Bill 2020, the Law Society reiterates the priorities highlighted in its submission last year and has also recommended:

  • Extending the Help to Buy Scheme to include relief for second-hand homes,
  • Re-instating relief for first time buyers from stamp duty,
  • Reducing Property Registration Authority transfer fees for average homes and reducing fees for new entrants to the market, and
  • Reducing the VAT rate for legal services.

Stamp duty relief

“Until December 2010, a first-time buyer had full relief from stamp duty on any type of property. Re-instating this measure would provide significant relief to purchasers who cannot access the Help to Buy Scheme,” explained Ms O’Boyle.

“This tax relief will have an immediate positive two fold benefit. It will encourage upward movement in the property market and, it will be a meaningful assistance to those looking to buy their first home.”

Reduced VAT on legal services

“Legal services are an essential service. A person often engages with legal services, not by choice, rather, because the services of a solicitor are required to have their rights protected or enforced,” she explained. 

“Access to justice is a key priority for the Law Society and, for that reason, we urge the Government to consider reducing the VAT rate for legal services,” she said.

The Law Society’s pre-budget 2020 submission is available to read here: Pre-Budget 2020 submission

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