The SDLT.co.uk team, who brought the first Stamp Duty Land Tax online return solution to the legal profession can now reuse data entered in the SDLT return (often via its generic case management integration) for a variety of other legal forms that are required in the process of residential and commercial conveyancing. Then eSubmit that data too.
This new “Dataflow” feature was asked for by a number of customers who also use SDLT.co.uk’s sister product FormEvo (a direct competitor to Laserforms or Oyez forms) and wanted to share information between the SDLT return and common Land Registry forms such as the AP1 and FR1. It is not just Land Registry forms however, where dataflow can make the conveyancer’s life easier and smoother as a result of ‘Digital by Default’ which is a Government policy full embraced by SDLT.co.uk as one would expect.
With the almost daily increase in complexity surrounding the new SDLT higher rate tax on additional properties, it has become significantly more important that conveyancers have quality guidance and supporting documents to help them within the SDLT and the wider reaching process of ‘post-completion’ automation. A recent legal precedent has shown that the conveyancer is responsible to their client, albeit SDLT is a self-assessment tax, for advising the purchaser adequately as regards the correct completion of the SDLT form and its calculation.
A new ‘Tax Expertise service’ hosted by SDLT.co.uk is soon to launch in May 2016. Existing clients will benefit from a ‘Members rate’ which is expected to be price wise; 25% less than the average market rate, for such expert advice. The advice given is totally de-risked and can be relied upon given the extensive insurance cover on said advice and expertise. Just like insuring against a ‘Search’ result. Any non-member based enquiries for this ‘expertise’ service will be available at a 10% reduced fee (if a fee is applicable, it often is not) when applied for via the SDLT.co.uk website ‘Tax Expertise’ panel.
The new SDLT Higher Rate Tax has been amended twice in less than a month since it was introduced. As part of the Dataflow process conveyancers using SDLT.co.uk can now complete other supporting SDLT forms automatically. New SDLT forms for requesting a refund of additional property tax, amending an SDLT return, appealing an SDLT payment (of which there is a predictable increase of valid uses of, due to the chaos around HRT (Higher Rate Tax) for example where the purchase includes a Granny Annex ). These authorised by HMRC forms, are all available and FREE within SDLT.
March and April have been a ‘busy’ time for conveyancers and with SDLT firmly in the eye of the Chancellor and ‘others’, the profession can expect more changes. SDLT.co.uk experienced a 190% spike on top of ‘normal transaction volumes’ over this time, breaking the previous daily transaction record that goes back to 2007 by a long way. In using SDLT.co.uk conveyancers can rest assured that their IT solution is always up to date and ready with changes to property tax. It is constantly improving to help make the process more efficient for its users reducing time and cost helping make conveyancing departments stay competitive.
Of course many SDLT.co.uk customers use SDLT.co.uk completely free of any office cost having embraced billing transaction costs as disbursements.
This significant boost in efficiency for SDLT.co.uk customers follows the launch of sister product “FormEvo.co.uk” last year. FormEvo is a new legal forms application which runs on the same pay as you go business model and can also be used by lawyers for free when billed as a disbursement. No setup costs, lengthy lock-in contracts, just pay as you go. Invoicing is easy whereby the conveyancers Matter Reference appears per individual form used and then calculates the disbursement cost, charged on a monthly basis. Large firms often revert to an annual licence interestingly enough, due to a premium rate charge to their client.
Since FormEvo’s launch, lawyers have found the flexibility of the cloud based system very useful. One commercial conveyancer found that being able to check progress on the weekend of a time sensitive company mortgage registration for an overseas client via their mobile device extremely useful and meant the ‘work life balance’ was considerably easier to manage.