For most of us the Budget has passed unnoticed but unfortunately Minister O'Donoghue and his colleagues in the Department just cannot get the stamp duty changes sorted out. When the 4% jump was announced in the Budget, it was said to be effective from 11 October (Budget day). What about contracts which pre-dated? "Fear not - the Finance Bill will solve it" said the Minister. We waited, and waited. Deals were cancelled and prices have been chipped. Now, fully three weeks later, we get a Finance Bill which....solves nothing! Unfortunately the online stamping system operated by Revenue has not been updated to allow for any transitional contracts. That would just be too easy. Instead the Department have now said either (a) pay the full 6% and then claim a 4% refund when the Finance Act is passed (December) or (b) pay the 2% now and you won't get a stamp duty certificate! The real result - a complete mess. Will financed deals will be able to complete before the Finance Act? It seems unlikely. We will see how this settles down over the coming weeks but it looks like a disastrous roll out to me. All that we needed was a simple box-tick on the ROS system for your stamp duty filing.

A cynic would say the Department are looking to land some 6% returns in their year end figures (and hope we forget about the refund statistics in January!).