This was an appeal about whether the purchase of a substantial dwelling house with 16.6 acres of garden and grounds that consisted of approximately 4 acres of private formal gardens and 12 acres of mature woodlands included land that was not garden or grounds of the dwelling so that the property was classified as of mixed residential and non-residential property meaning that the lower rates of SDLT in Table B applied.

Having heard the evidence of the purchaser under examination by her counsel, Patrick Cannon, and cross-examination by HMRC, the Tribunal found her a credible witness, and preferred her description of the property to that put forward by HMRC. Noting that no one from HMRC had visited the property, the Tribunal found that HMRC’s statements about the property were in complete contradiction to the purchaser’s evidence and said that, therefore, it had treated HMRC’s submissions on these matters “with caution”. After an extensive review of the relevant case-law decisions on mixed-use, the Tribunal found that the woods did not form a part of the garden and grounds of the dwelling because they did not have a functional purpose for or use that supports the dwelling. Accordingly, the non-residential rates of SDLT applied to the purchase, and a refund of £225,250 was due to the purchaser.

You can read the full decision here

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