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Where Taxpayers and Advisers Meet
BOOK REVIEW - Stamp Duty Land Tax
29/06/2015, by Mark McLaughlin CTA (Fellow) ATT TEP, Tax Articles - Stamp Duty, Stamp Duty Land Tax, SDLT
Rating: 0/5 from 0 people

Stamp Duty Land Tax (First Edition)

By Christopher Cox & Richard Woolich

Published by Sweet & Maxwell

Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) can be very difficult and complex; the rules on SDLT for partnerships (FA 2003 Sch 15) are a good illustration of this. It is therefore a compliment to the authors of this book that they have covered the subject in such a practical, easy-to-read style and format.

‘Stamp Duty Land Tax’ is not very long by the normal standards of technical books. It comprises 325 pages, divided into 20 manageable, readable chapters. The order of chapters forms a logical structure. The commentary is set out in relatively short, concise paragraphs, with plenty of examples to illustrate the points being made. The examples tend to blend into the commentary, although there is perhaps a case for giving the examples a little more prominence.

A very likeable feature of this book is that the commentary is very easy to read and understand. The authors have chosen a difficult subject to cover, but explain it very clearly.

Some chapters will be of more interest to readers than others. I was particularly interested to read the commentary in Chapter 11 (‘Group and reconstruction reliefs’) and Chapter 12 (‘Partnerships’). As mentioned above, the latter is a very difficult area, but the authors have used their explanatory style to good effect in providing a helpful overview of the rules.

There is a tendency for some tax technical books to slavishly follow the wording of the legislation. However, this book does not follow that pattern in my view. Instead, it provides a very useful overview of the SDLT legislation. There are undoubtedly other SDLT publications which are more detailed and technical. But it depends what you are looking for. In practice, I would probably be inclined to use this book as a starting point in my technical research.

‘Stamp Duty Land Tax’ would be particularly useful to practitioners who are not specialists in this area, but wish to grasp the key concepts quickly and efficiently. However, this book has wider appeal, and in my view it would be a good addition to any practitioner’s library.

Other books on the market cover stamp taxes in general. This book is focused on SDLT. It is certainly a topical and important subject, enough to justify a book in its own right. At the time of writing this review, the Chancellor in his Autumn Statement 2014 announced a radical reform of the way in which SDLT is calculated in respect of residential property. For that reason alone, the authors of this book will have plenty to write about in the second edition!

In the meantime, an Autumn Statement 2014 Bulletin has been published to accompany purchases of this edition of the book. The Bulletin can be read alongside the main book text and all purchasers (including those who have already bought the book) will receive the Bulletin free of charge.

Further information and ordering details are included on the Sweet and Maxwell website.

About The Author

Mark McLaughlin is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Taxation, a Fellow of the Association of Taxation Technicians, and a member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners. From January 1998 until December 2018, Mark was a consultant in his own tax practice, Mark McLaughlin Associates, which provided tax consultancy and support services to professional firms throughout the UK.

Mark  is a consultant with The TACS Partnership LLP ( He is also editor and a co-author of HMRC Investigations Handbook (Bloomsbury Professional).

He is a member of the Chartered Institute of Taxation’s Capital Gains Tax & Investment Income and Succession Taxes Sub-Committees.

Mark is Chief Contributor to McLaughlin’s Tax Case Review, a monthly journal published by Tax Insider.

Mark is the Editor of the Core Tax Annuals (Bloomsbury Professional), and is a co-author of the ‘Inheritance Tax’ Annuals (Bloomsbury Professional).

Mark is Editor and a co-author of ‘Tax Planning’ (Bloomsbury Professional).

He is a co-author of ‘Ray & McLaughlin’s Practical IHT Planning’ (Bloomsbury Professional) 

Mark is a Consultant Editor with Bloomsbury Professional, and co-author of ‘Incorporating and Disincorporating a Business’. This content is available as part of a number of Bloomsbury Professional's online modules.

He is Editor and co-author of ‘HMRC Investigations Handbook‘ (Bloomsbury Professional).

Mark has also written numerous articles for professional publications, including ‘Taxation’, ‘Tax Adviser’, ‘Tolley’s Practical Tax Newsletter’ and ‘Tax Journal’, which provides free information and resources on UK taxes to taxpayers and professionals, and TaxationWeb’s sister site TaxBookShop.

Mark is a Director of Tax Insider, and Editor of Tax Insider, Property Tax Insider and Business Tax Insider, which are monthly publications aimed at providing tax tips and tax saving ideas for taxpayers and professional advisers. He is also Editor of Tax Insider Professional, a monthly publication for professional practitioners.

Mark is also a tax lecturer, and has featured in online tax lectures for Tolley Seminars Online.

Mark co-founded TaxationWeb ( in 2002.

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SDLT Geek 30/09/2017 19:47

Excellent book. The second edition is out today, 30 September 2017.

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