February is always a big month for the CA as we hold our Annual Conference…
Upward shift in demand means firms are now queuing to get access to our services.
Early adoption is often seen as a risk – in an increasingly digital world, it’s common knowledge that the first build is often the weakest, and that the bugs tend to be ironed out a little while down the road. We ascribe at least part of the relatively slow initial uptake of SDLT Compass to this, with firms waiting to be convinced of the worth of the technology, and even of the existence of an issue with Stamp Duty at all.
But in the time since Compass launched, the industry has seen a lot of changes, and a great deal of upheaval.
We’ve had alterations to the Stamp Duty thresholds, both temporary and more long term. We’ve seen alterations to the way in which Stamp Duty is charged on purchases by non UK-based buyers, continued confusion over the application of the 3% surcharge and alterations to HMRC official guidance.
We’ve also seen a rise in claims made against firms for ‘missed’ reliefs and incorrectly assessed SDLT on historical cases, with Multiple Dwellings Relief, Mixed Use relief and others making their way blinking into the harsh light of day and the microscope of so-called ‘claims farms’.
Finally, we’ve seen amendments to the Law Society’s CQS guidance which firmly shifted yet more responsibility both for the assessment of SDLT liability and the formation and maintenance of systems and procedures for firms to ‘check their working’.
In light of this constant stream of changes, it’s perhaps unsurprising to note that Compass has also evolved, going through numerous updates which have kept pace with the alterations and allowed our users to keep abreast of the game. Indeed, notably following Kwasi Kwarteng’s now infamous mini budget last year, Compass was updated in line with the new changes within 24 hours, contrasted against the ‘official’ HMRC calculator which took over a fortnight to be adjusted and useable.
It’s also unsurprising to note the increased demand for our services. News travels fast in the conveyancing community, and more and more firms are becoming aware of the need for a better solution to the challenges presented by SDLT, and the comprehensiveness of solution provided by SDLT Compass.
With demand slowly rising again in the conveyancing sector, even as rate rises cause uncertainty and price drops, firms need an edge in order to compete. Fewer conveyancing firms exist now than a decade ago, but demand for their services only ever goes upwards.
Against that backdrop, it’s no exaggeration to say that firms trying to stick to the old, analogue way of doing things risk drowning under the flood of work, to say nothing of storing up potential liability which could come back to haunt them financially and professionally in the years to come.
Call us today and get to the front of the queue, or risk getting left behind.