According to UK press investigation Isle of Man has topped the list of offshore jurisdictions for the UK homeowners.
The rules for acquiring residential property in UK are such that a buyer of a house or an apartment valued over 1mln. pounds must pay a stamp duty of 5%.
But as a matter of fact one can avoid stamp duty altogether if the ownership of highly valued property is transferred to an offshore company. Interested buyer now makes a purchase not of the property, but of the company, which is the owner. This procedure makes the deal classified as a corporate transaction. As a result, the buyer mustn’t pay the stamp duty to UK authorities.
Land Registry records show that ownership of 92 760 houses, mansions, estates and castles has been transferred to offshore companies. The total value of property registered to the companies in 122 countries all over the world is £200 billion. Isle of Man takes the top spot in this list with 23,147 properties registered since 1999.
London is the most desired market among buyers, notably the ownership of every single home on the city’s Cornwall Terrace, where the average price is £35 milion, has been transferred to overseas companies. It is also claimed, that the houses of such celebrities as Mick Jagger and Ringo Starr belong to the companies registered in the offshore jurisdictions too.
Iomtoday.com: Tax loophole ‘costs UK £1billion’ (20 March, 2012)
Mail Online: Taxman denied more than £1BILLION as rich and famous register their townhouses, mansions and castles abroad (18 March 2012)
HM Revenue and Customs website.