Scotland business

New Scottish property transaction tax comes into effect

Housing estate Image copyright PA

A new tax which changes the way people pay duty on house purchases has come into effect in Scotland.

The Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) replaces UK stamp duty under new devolved powers contained in the Scotland Act 2012.

The Scottish government has said nine out of 10 taxpayers will be better or no worse off under the new system.

LBTT is the first tax to be introduced by the Scottish Parliament in 300 years, along with a landfill tax.

The new system uses a graduated tax rate, working in a similar way to income tax.

Under LBTT, properties worth up to £145,000 will not attract any tax.

For sales between £145,000 and £250,000, a tax rate of 2% will be applied, with the introduction of a new rate of 5% between £250,001 and £325,000.

Between £325,001 and £750,000, the marginal rate will be 10%, with a top rate of 12% applying to all transactions above £750,000.

The rest of the UK will continue to operate under reformed stamp duty rules, as laid out in Chancellor George Osborne's Autumn Statement.

LBTT band rates from 1 April

Up to £145,000 - 0%

£145,001 to £250,000 - 2%

£250,001 to £325,000 - 5%

£325,001 to £750,000 - 10%

£750,001 and over - 12%

UK stamp duty rates from December 2014

Up to £125,000 - 0%

£125,001 to 250,000 - 2%

£250,001 to £925,000 - 5%

£925,001 to £1.5m - 10%

£1.5m and over - 12%

The new rates will only be payable on the portion of the total value which falls within each band.

This contrasts with the former "slab" structure of stamp duty, under which the higher tax rate was payable on the whole purchase price when a threshold was crossed.

Finance Secretary John Swinney has said the new tax rates will see 50% of all household transactions paying no tax and more than 40,000 buyers paying less on the purchase of a new home.

Mr Swinney was accused of a "U-turn" in January when he announced revisions to the initial LBTT rates set out in his draft 2015/16 Budget in October.

The alterations came after Chancellor George Osborne made changes to UK stamp duty.

LBTT will be administered by Scotland's new tax collection agency, Revenue Scotland, with support from Registers of Scotland (RoS).

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