Historic first for the Scottish Parliament

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In an historic first for the Scottish Parliament, Finance Secretary John Swinney has introduced the first bill that will enable the Parliament to both set and collect a proportion of its own revenue.

Mr Swinney has introduced the Land and Building Transactions Tax (Scotland) Bill using powers in the Scotland Act 2012 to collect and manage taxes on the purchase or leasing of land and buildings.

From April 2015, Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) will replace the UK Government’s system of stamp duty land tax in Scotland.

The Scottish Government is proposing a progressive tax structure for LBTT where the amount of tax paid is more closely related to the value of the property. This approach is in contrast to the current UK system of stamp duty land tax.

Commenting on the Bill, published today by the Scottish Parliament, Finance Secretary John Swinney said:

“Today we take a further step toward setting and collecting of taxes in Scotland and doing so better and at less cost than the UK Government.

“In this bill we are setting out an innovative approach to taxation that is much better aligned with Scots law and practices, and the principle of progressive taxation.

“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.

“The approach I am outlining today represents a strong foundation for the future. This Government’s approach to taxation is founded on Scottish principles that have stood the test of time since the days of Adam Smith.

“Taxation should be proportionate, taxpayers should have certainty about what they should pay, it should be convenient and it should be efficient.

“Our tax system will meet the needs of a modern, twenty-first century Scotland, grounded on solid foundations and delivering sustainable economic growth.

“However the transfer of tax powers in this one area only adds to the case for the responsibility for all taxation in Scotland to rest with the Scottish Parliament. The changes we are making show that where we have the powers we are able to design a system better suited to Scotland’s interests. Only in an independent Scotland, where Scotland has full control over all economic levers, will the interests of Scotland be best served.”