Positive welcome for Scottish tax plans

SNP plans for a fairer tax to replace stamp duty in Scotland have been hailed by leading business and housing experts.

Finance Secretary John Swinney announced a consultation on a more progressive Land and Building Transaction Tax that will be closely related to an individual’s ability to pay.

The move has been welcomed by the National Association of Estate Agents’ Alison Hatrick, the Scottish Property Federation’s David Melhuish, CBI Scotland’s director Iain McMillan and the Law Society of Scotland.

Aileen McLeod, SNP MSP for South Scotland and member of the Scottish Parliament's Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee, said:

“Business and housing experts across the country have welcomed the SNP Government’s plans for a fairer, more progressive tax to replace stamp duty.

“CBI Scotland, the National Association of Estate Agents and Scottish Property Federation have all made positive comments about the Land and Building Transaction Tax.

“The NAEA has even said this will help first time buyers and in particular young couples trying to buy two or three-bedroom homes.

“This tax is fairer as it will be more closely related to an individual’s ability to pay.

"These positive comments simply demonstrate that plans made in Scotland can be better for Scotland and the strength of feeling that we need full fiscal powers is growing day by day.

"The SNP Government is making positive use of the devolution of these taxation powers in the Scotland Act 2012, so just imagine what we could achieve if all the taxes collected in Scotland were being used to the benefit of this country.

“With the anti-independence parties refusing to offer anything other than outright opposition to independence, the only way to get these powers is by voting Yes in the referendum."

1) On BBC GMS Alison Hatrick, from the National Association of Estate Agents, said: “Anything that the secretary can do that will help the housing market has got to be seen as something very positive. Clearly it’s going to be very beneficial for the whole of Scotland.”

2) In the Scotsman, David Melhuish, director of the Scottish Property Federation, said: “Today’s Land and Buildings Transaction Tax announcement by the Scottish Government is a promising start on this important new tax.”

3) In the Scotsman, the Director of CBI Scotland Iain McMillan said: “We welcome this move and will study the consultation carefully.”

4) Law Society of Scotland President, Austin Lafferty, said: “This is a particularly welcome announcement from the Cabinet Secretary. The proposals for a distinct Scottish property and land tax would introduce clarity where there has long been confusion and remove the often unnecessary anxiety and delay for solicitors’ clients who are involved in property transactions.”

5) Isobel d’Inverno, convener of the Law Society’s Tax Law Committee, said: “Today’s announcement represents a real opportunity to improve the current system in Scotland. The proposals take a commonsense approach and promote using existing expertise to replace the current, ill-fitting system of tax, with a better land transaction tax, built on Scots property law.
"The Law Society’s Tax Law and Property Law committees have for many years made numerous representations to HMRC about the problems of applying SDLT to Scottish property transactions and have been instrumental in proposing changes to make the system more workable, including drafting the Scottish Lease chapter of HMRC’s SDLT manual. However, the opportunities presented by introducing a tailored system that is easier to understand and to apply, would bring a clear benefit to Scottish solicitors and more importantly, to their clients.
“The Law Society’s Tax and Property Law committees are committed to this process and look forward to engaging with the Scottish Government and other interested parties in developing a new system of land tax for Scotland.”

6) In the Herald, Head of CKD Galbraith's residential division, said: "This will hopefully allow people to consider a more expensive property. Anything like this which reduces stamp duty will have a positive effect on the market, albeit not a huge one."

7) In the Herald, head of estate agents Strutt and Parker Carolyn Campbell said: This announcement suggests a much fairer correlation between the amount of tax paid and the value of the proerty, which will prove positive for prospective buyers."