Posted: Friday 8 June 2012
The Scottish Government issued a Consultation Paper yesterday (7 June) on proposals for a new Land & Buildings Transaction Tax for Scotland. This tax is intended to replace the current UK Stamp Duty Land Tax from April 2015. The Consultation will run for 12 weeks.
The Scotland Act 2012, among other tax provisions, gives the Scottish Parliament full responsibility for taxes on land transactions and on waste disposal to landfill from April 2015. In his statement, John Swinney indicated that the Scottish Government intends to establish a distinctly Scottish based approach to the Land & Buildings Transaction Tax, and that the legislation will be firmly embedded in Scots law.
The Law Society of Scotland has welcomed the proposals. Since the introduction of Stamp Duty Land Tax throughout the UK in 2003, the Tax Law and Property Law Committees of the Law Society have made a considerable number of representations to HMRC on the difficulties of applying SDLT to Scottish property transactions, where the current system does not always sit well with a number of aspects of Scots property law.
Introducing a new tax system specifically tailored to Scots law and practices, and which will be able to take account of the numerous problems which have arisen in Scotland under the current SDLT system, presents a real opportunity for an improved tax regime which is more straightforward and provides more certainty for all involved in Scottish property transactions.