My wife died in November of last year and probate is still ongoing. On May 23 this year I was advised by the lawyer involved that they had received a demand for the payment of IPT owed by my wife for the years 2015 and 2016. Now we had sold our house in December 2014. Since we had never held the title deeds, IPT was payable by the registered owner Aristo Developers, from whom we had purchased the property in 2001.
We were informed by the lawyer handling the sale that the law had changed in 2014 to allow IPT payments to be paid directly by the contractual owners, and so this was carried out by the lawyer on our behalf and a Tax Clearance Certificate was issued on December 13 confirming that the property had been sold and subsequently the title deeds were transferred directly to the new owners from Aristo.
The lawyer handling probate approached the tax office on this and they admitted that a mistake had occurred over the 2016 payment, but that the sale of the property was not completed until January 2015, and therefore under the law we were responsible for IPT payments for the whole of that year and would have to claim a rebate from the new owners for the remaining months.
I asked for proof and was told that although we had been given a tax clearance certificate this only applied for 2014 and that the title deeds were not transferred until January 26, 2015. Since IPT is payable on the property rather than the individual and the property was jointly owned, I queried why my wife had been singled out on this, and the tax office responded by saying that if the property was jointly owned there would be more tax to pay.
I also queried as to why we were not told at the time that IPT was still owing. I have subsequently been told that IPT demands were sent out by the tax office up to 2015 by ordinary post in September-October and that this would have been sent to our postal address which the tax office had.
We received no such demand and the reason is obvious. The demands are sent to the owners of the property and since we were never the registered owners and no longer the contractual owners we could not possibly have made the payment ourselves.
In summary, there would appear to be a ‘Catch 22’ situation here and either ‘the law is an ass’ or the tax office is guilty of chicanery or both!
David R Smith, Peyia