SDLT Sub-sale and Sharia-compliant Finance Leaseback Blues – UK Supreme Court’s Decision in Project Blue Case

    View Authors June 2018

    It has been over a decade since the Ministry of Defence (MoD) sold the Chelsea Barracks. On 13 June 2018, the stamp duty land tax (SDLT) consequences of that transaction have finally been resolved by the judgment of the UK Supreme Court (UKSC) in the Project Blue case. The UKSC ruling brings to a close, finally, one of the most intricate and finely balanced disputes concerning SDLT since the introduction of the tax in 2003.

    The case is particularly noteworthy for the light shed on the ability, and apparent willingness, of HMRC to invoke the SDLT anti-avoidance rule in a broad range of scenarios, including those involving transactions that are entirely commercial and involve no avoidance motive.