Wales politics

Stamp duty reform debate opens as consultation launched

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Media captionJane Hutt says tax power is a 'real responsibility'

Tax on property sales could be changed again as a consultation is launched on the future for stamp duty in Wales.

Chancellor George Osborne changed the system in December to ensure taxes rose more gradually rather than jumping at each higher property price band.

Stamp duty will be the first tax to be entirely devolved in 2018 and could raise £230m in the first year.

It is levied on property sold for more than £125,000 but the Welsh Tories have pledged to double the limit.

Launching the consultation, Finance Minister Jane Hutt told AMs on Tuesday the Labour Welsh government wanted to make a land transaction tax "more effective, more efficient, and better suited to the priorities and needs of Wales".

Tax powers

In Scotland - where a property tax replaces stamp duty in April - the threshold will be raised to £145,000.

Consultation begins on Tuesday and is open for 12 weeks.

Another consultation - on landfill tax - will follow at the end of February.

The taxes are among the powers being devolved under the Wales Act, in response to the findings of the Silk Commission.

Analysis by Nick Servini, BBC Wales political editor

The problem Welsh government ministers have is that George Osborne took the wind out of their sails a few months ago when he smoothed out the steep rises in a major overhaul of stamp duty.

This was something they had always intended on doing themselves when it's devolved in 2018.

The question now is whether they introduce any further changes.

Small alterations risk the accusation that it's tinkering and change for change's sake.

The temptation for the parties in Wales ahead of the next assembly elections will be to go down the same route as Scotland and try to take many first time buyers out of paying it altogether.

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