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Legal challenge mounted to Osborne's buy to let tax changes

The man behind the Platinum Property Partners company are mounting a legal challenge to this year’s buy to let tax changes announced by Chancellor George Osborne.

The FT Adviser publication reports that Steve Bolton, whose PPP business has £200m of residential property in its portfolio, is working with a landlord on a legal challenge on behalf of around 250 investors in the PPP network, by means of a Judicial Review.

LAT has extensively reported on the Osborne changes, announced in the summer and topped up in late November with a stamp duty surcharge on so-called ‘additional properties’. The challenge is said to be restricted to the tax measures, not the SDLT.

Bolton is quoted by FT Adviser as saying the government has excluded the most wealthy property landlords, who are able to make cash-only purchases, as well as institutions and corporations and overseas landlords, “all of whom are excluded and unaffected by this unfair tax grab.”

Bolton adds: “It’s not clear why the government has chosen to just launch an attack on buy-to-let owner-operators with mortgages. It’s a tax from Alice in Wonderland – truly absurd and divorced from real life. Not only is this tax grab unfair, undemocratic and underhanded, but we believe that it could also be unlawful.”

FT Adviser says legal advice to Bolton - given by the law firm headed up by none other than Cherie Blair QC - suggests there may be a basis in Human Rights and European law where this can be challenged and over-turned via the courts.

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