Property tax dodgers targeted: Property news roundup

Plus, a £600k castle, Edinburgh house prices, and what do buyers want?

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The Independent Online

A new taskforce is now tackling people trying to dodge property tax in the north west and north Wales.

Launched by HM Revenue and Customs, it is targeting people who have sold one or more properties and have not paid Capital Gains Tax or disclosed rental income. It aims to recover £5 million.

More than £12 million has been recovered as a result of property rentals taskforces in London, south east England and Yorkshire, with 80 cases currently under criminal investigation. Taskforces are expected to bring in over £100 million during 2014-15.

"HMRC taskforces are deployed in sectors and areas where we've detected a high risk of tax evasion," said HMRC's Jennie Granger, Director General of Enforcement and Compliance. "For example, in a previous property taskforce in London in 2013 we uncovered a barrister who had evaded £471,512 in unreturned capital gains."

Buy a castle for under £600,000

Normally you need millions to afford a castle, but St Petroc, a stone-built four bedroomed home in the hamlet of Charles, north Devon, is on the market with Greenslade Taylor Hunt for just £595,000.

The crenellated home (pictured above) was built around 1825 and has recently been renovated - features include stone fireplaces, an oak staircase, a sitting room with a domed ceiling, and 1.4 acres of attractive gardens including a wildlife pond.

What do buyers want?

Three quarters of homehunters say that they would rather be in the perfect area than the perfect home, according to online estate eMoov.co.uk.

Nine out of 10 of people surveyed were also keen on good neighbours, three quarters were after good transport links and only 44 per cent felt that local job opportunities were important. Just over half of those questioned were looking for a home in a specific school catchment area.

Good transport links in the surrounding area were considered important by 77% of those surveyed. As long as there are good transport links, people don't tend to mind having to commute with just 44% of people stating that local job opportunities are important.

Asked what they would look for in the next home they bought, 93 per cent said garden space was important with 90 per cent keen on a parking space. Two thirds said a downstairs bathrooms was important, with just a third admitting that an en-suite in a master bedroom was crucial in their selection.

House sales: East Central Scotland

Between June and August this year, the number of homes sold across Edinburgh, the Lothians and Fife rose by 13 per cent compared to the same period last year, according to property marketing company ESPC .

In the same period, the average selling time was five weeks, down from eight weeks compared to 2013.  Two thirds of homes sold in Edinburgh between June and August met or exceeded their Home Report valuation, up from 41 per cent a year ago.

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