A stamp duty tax break brought in during the Covid crisis is to be extended for another year after saving first-time belonger property buyers about $1.5 million over the past two years.

Premier Dr. Natalio “Sowande” Wheatley said last week that the move is needed to help stimulate the economy after the ravages of the pandemic.

“During the Covid period, we provided an exception for belongers, first-time owners of property, of stamp duty — which was very popular,” Dr. Wheatley said during the June 25 debate on the Stamps (Amendment) Bill 2024 in the House of Assembly. “And certainly this initiative encouraging people to buy property is a way of stimulating the economy as well and providing opportunities for people who may have a difficult time.”


In 2022, the premier said, 99 people benefited from the initiative, and last year 93 more took advantage.

“In both years combined, we waived stamp duty of between $1.4 million and $1.5 million,” he said. “This has the benefit of helping our people become property owners and achieve their dreams, which has been a benefit to society.”

Dr. Wheatley joked that the end of the scheme earlier this year saw people demanding he cover the stamp duty for them.

“This initiative expired in March,” he said. “A number of persons have contacted me and told me if we don’t extend this thing, they are coming to me for the money. Because perhaps they are going to be buying some property and it is going to cost $5,000 to $6,000 in stamp duty, and they are saying they can’t afford that extra amount of money.”

Property tax

The premier added that once more people own property, the territory would benefit financially in other ways.

“We are happy to extend this initiative for an additional year as these persons, they end up having to pay property taxes and they have to contribute in other areas after becoming property owners,” he explained.

The premier said more initiatives to help people become homeowners would follow.

Health and Social Development Minister Vincent Wheatley welcomed the move, insisting it gave people opportunities they would otherwise not have.

“This is one step towards putting lands and homes in the hands of our people,” he said.

Opposition Leader Ronnie Skelton spoke briefly to seek clarification on some of the technical wording of the legislation.

Following the public debate and a closed-door committee session, the HOA passed the bill unanimously with amendments. It now awaits the governor’s assent before the amended version becomes law and is made public.

Initiative’s history

The initiative started in July 2020 when the Stamp (Amendment) Act 2020 was Gazetted after receiving the governor’s assent.

At first, the initiative waived stamp duty on the sale or transfer of property to a belonger from May 7, 2020 to May 31, 2021 — retroactively reimbursing buyers for duty paid in the months before the law took effect.

Later, the exemption was extended to December 2021. From May 2020 to December 2021, exemptions totalled $5,543,481 with a total of 513 sales, then-premier Andrew Fahie said in March 2022.

That month, the exemption was renewed again — but this time for first-time property-buyers only.