Consultation on Land Transaction Tax in Wales launched

Finance and Government Business Minister Jane Hutt has launched a consultation on a Land Transaction Tax (LTT), which will replace UK Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) in Wales from April 2018.

The Minister is encouraging the public, businesses and stakeholders across Wales and the UK to get involved and have their say on proposals for the design of the first Welsh tax in over 800 years.

Recent HMRC estimates for 2013-14 show Welsh revenues of £145 million for Stamp Duty Land Tax, with 51,600 transactions taking place. The Office for Budgetary Responsibility forecasts that, in 2018-19 when the tax is devolved, the SDLT revenues could be £231m in Wales.

The consultation seeks views on 28 specific questions in relation to:

•Tax structure, bands and rates for residential and non-residential transactions;

•Partnerships, trusts and companies;

•Leases;

•Reliefs and exemptions; and

•Compliance and avoidance

The Minister said:

“This consultation will be open and wide-ranging. This is a tax which affects so many of us – as home buyers and sellers, as builders, as developers of or investors in property, as businesses renting premises in the non-residential markers and as those who play important roles in the transaction processes.

“One of the key reforms we were considering was the removal of the so-called ‘slab approach to residential stamp duty land tax, something which has recently been reformed by the UK Government. While we are not looking for change for change’s sake, I am keen to explore other ways in which we can improve the current system, making it more effective, more efficient, and better suited to the priorities and needs of Wales.  The introduction of Scotland’s Land and Buildings Transaction Tax shows us that a tax can be developed in the spirit of the tax it is replacing but still have very different characteristics.

“We are keen to look at improvements that could make it easier to do business in Wales, ensuring we can maintain our attractiveness to commercial enterprises.  When I announced my principles for Welsh taxes, I made it clear that is important to develop taxes which are fair to people, businesses and support growth and jobs, which in turn will help tackle poverty and support communities.

“The impact of the changes we make to this tax will potentially be felt by a sizeable proportion of the Welsh population. That is why I urge everyone to contribute their views and help shape the first Welsh tax in over 800 years.”