Scotland politics

Ministers outline 'fair' property tax bill

Estate agent
Image caption Ministers said the change would support first-time buyers and families needing bigger homes

The Scottish government has unveiled plans for a new, "fairer" property tax system, to replace stamp duty.

Ministers want the land and building transactions tax to come into force from April 2015.

They said the new system would be more progressive, with a focus on the "ability of the individual to pay".

The proposals have been put forward in a new Scottish Parliament bill, the first to both set and collect a proportion of its revenue.

The government has not yet decided on the tax rates, but ministers previously consulted on the possibility of raising the threshold which people pay no charge, from £125,000 to £180,000.

Stamp duty is applied at 1% for properties costing between £125,000 and £250,000 and at 3% on those sold for £250,000 to £500,000.

The Land and Building Transactions Tax (Scotland) Bill, has raised the prospect of bringing in the "nil rate" band, and at least two other bands.

Ministers have also proposed that only the proportion of the price above the threshold would be liable to the higher rate of tax.

Scottish Finance Secretary John Swinney said: "The changes we are proposing would give us the opportunity to better support first-time buyers trying to get onto the housing ladder or families buying bigger homes that better suit their needs.

"Rather than the current distortive 'slab' approach which sees people pay too much tax and distorts the market, we will ensure that taxpayers pay an amount more proportionate to the value of their property."

Control of stamp duty on land and property is being devolved from Westminster to Holyrood under the recently passed Scotland Act.

A new tax body - Revenue Scotland - is being set up to work with Registers of Scotland on collecting the charge.

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