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Some investors, particularly non-UK resident investors, may hold UK real estate as an investment through an offshore unauthorised property unit trust. Such unit trusts are commonly established in one of the Channel Islands (typically, Jersey or Guernsey) or the Isle of Man, but may be established under the law of another non-UK jurisdiction. This Practice Note refers to such property unit trusts, wherever established, as Jersey Property Unit Trusts (JPUTs) (since Jersey property unit trusts are probably the most common form).
JPUTs were popular historically because it used to be possible to transfer UK real estate to a JPUT free from stamp duty land tax (SDLT). This was pursuant to a specific exemption known as 'seeding relief', which was abolished from 22 March 2006. A different form of seeding relief was introduced by section 133 of the Finance Act 2016 (FA 2016) but this only applies to authorised contractual schemes and property authorised investment funds, not JPUTs.
Because of this historic relief, and the continuing ability to transfer units in a JPUT owning UK real estate free from stamp duty, SDLT or stamp duty reserve tax (SDRT), numerous UK properties continue to be held by JPUTs.
This Practice Note considers the SDLT, SDRT, stamp duty and VAT treatment of JPUTs. For details of the direct tax (income tax and capital gains tax) treatment, see Practice Note: Property
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