In a move that has been cautiously welcomed by landlords, the Scottish government has proposed reforming stamp duty.
The Scottish Property Federation (SPF) believes it could see an end to the distortive ‘slab’ approach from 2015.
The changes, announced by John Swinney as part of the Land & Buildings Transactions Tax during a parliamentary debate on 7 June, also recognise the likely differences between the commercial and residential property markets, especially at the higher rates of tax.
The transfer of control over stamp duty from Westminster was a key part of the Scotland Bill which was heralded as the largest transfer of power to Scotland since devolution.
“Today’s Land & Buildings Transaction Tax announcement by the Scottish government is a promising start on this important new tax,” said David Melhuish, director of the Scottish Property Federation.
“Much detail remains to be identified including the rates and treatment of commercial leases, but in our view the consultation document sets the right direction for engagement with the property industry on how to replace SDLT in Scotland from 2015.
“In our discussions with officials we have emphasised that from a commercial perspective it will be important to ensure that investors and developers are reassured that a competitive, simpler and fairer tax is under consideration to replace SDLT.”
He added: “The consultation makes a good start on these issues. Equally we are pleased to see the continuance of hard fought concessions from SDLT such as the disaggregation of residential portfolios so that individual homes are charged at the correct rate in order to support larger scale investment in the private rented residential sector.”