In the 2019/20 Scottish Draft Budget, Derek Mackay announced changes to Scottish Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) which are considered below.
The government’s stated policy priority for residential Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) remains to help first-time buyers and to assist people as they progress through the property market. Since its introduction, this policy has ensured that over 80% of taxpayers benefit from LBTT by paying either no tax or less tax than in England. The current rates and bands are as follows:
The rates apply to the portion of the total value which falls within each band.
First-time buyer relief
A relief applies for first-time buyers of properties up to £175,000. The relief raises the zero tax threshold for first-time buyers from £145,000 to £175,000. First-time buyers purchasing a property above £175,000 also benefit from the relief on the portion of the price below the threshold.
Higher rates for additional residential properties
Higher rates of LBTT are charged on purchases of certain residential properties, such as buy to let properties and second homes. Although these are the main targets of the higher rates, some other purchasers may have to pay the higher rates.
The Additional Dwelling Supplement (ADS) potentially applies if, at the end of the day of the purchase transaction, the individual owns two or more residential properties and is not replacing their main residence. Care is needed if an individual already owns, or partly owns, a property and transacts to purchase another property without having disposed of the first property. An 18 month rule helps to remove some transactions from the additional rates (or allows a refund).
The Government announced an increase in the ADS from 3% to 4% from 25 January 2019, but this increase will not apply if the contract for a transaction was entered into prior to 12 December 2018. Existing arrangements allowing for the supplement to be reclaimed will continue.
Changes for non-residential rates and bands
The Government will reduce the lower rate of non-residential LBTT from 3% to 1%, increase the upper rate from 4.5% to 5% and reduce the starting threshold of the upper rate from £350,000 to £250,000. These changes come into force from 25 January 2019, but will not apply if the contract for a transaction was entered into prior to 12 December 2018.
The revised rates and band for non-residential LBTT transactions are as follows:
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