Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (Scotland) Bill – a quick summary

The Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (Scotland) Bill was introduced to the Scottish Parliament on 29 November. Some points of note:

  • the Bill is expected to come into effect  on 1 April 2015;
  • the Bill is the first of three-  a Landfill Tax Bill and Tax Management Bill will follow;
  • the Scottish Ministers are the tax authority (s52) but the authority can be changed by order (a new body, Revenue Scotland has been established for that purpose);
  • the tax authority can delegate administration and collection of the tax to Registers of Scotland (s53) (an idea first suggested by my colleague James Aitken);
  • the tax will be progressive, i.e. tax is charged on the proportion  of the price exceeding the threshold rather than charging the higher rate of tax on the whole price (per SDLT)(ss24-26)
  • like SDLT, LBTT will be charged on VAT (para 2, Schedule 2)
  • the Bill contains a number of targeted anti-avoidance rules applying to specific exemptions and reliefs. The Scottish Government also intends to introduce a general anti-avoidance rule following a consultation on tax management;
  • commercial leases are to be dealt with by subordinate legislation (s55) following consideration of the options (one of which is making tax payable annually on actual rent paid);
  • residential leases are exempt (para 3, Schedule 1);
  • licences to occupy are not exempt (ss14-16); and
  • the Bill replicates existing SDLT provisions on partnerships & trusts. However, the Scottish Government intends to carry out further work on the provisions during the Bill’s Parliamentary passage to produce clearer legislation (to be brought forward at Stage 2).

The Bill is available here.
The Explanatory Notes are available here.
The Policy Memorandum can be found here.


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