News / General

Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) at 10th February 2015

By SLAS Spokesperson

From April this year, the month after next, we shall require to complete a Land and Buildings Transactions Tax return in order to complete an application for registration of title. The current HMRC Guidance  for this return currently advises that “Guidance is currently in development and will be available in early 2015, well  in advance of LBTT coming into effect.”

We recollect that when SDLT replaced Stamp Duty (in 2004?) a similar situation  arose and there were no forms available for SDLT submissions when the new rules came into force and no registrations of title could proceed throughout Scotland for a period of some weeks, during which the Land Register lost contact with the reality of landownership.  This of course was the very evil that inspired generation of Scottish solicitors to fear the charge of “failing to update the Registers” and the professional discipline that followed  thereon.  No issue was raised, however, when the inefficiency of the revenue authorities led to the wholesale breakdown of the system of land registration and is on the brink of doing so again.

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The LBTT guidance will be published on Revenue Scotland's website on Monday 16 February, and from that date you can sign up to use the LBTT online system. The demonstrations I have seen suggest it will work well.

At SDLT.co.uk we have been asking Revenue Scotland for accurate and complete documentation in regard to LBTT, and still with 12 days left we have not got the documentation. Revenue Scotland will produce a paper version of LBTT, still not available as yet. Given the lack of e-connectivity at Revenue Scotland as things stand, we recommend that all Scottish solicitors HOLD OFF with E submitting LBTT and revert to the paper form to save themselves hassle, time, and grey hair at using LBTT for April 2015. Revenue Scotland needs more time to get caught up that will allow software suppliers the time to write, test and get approved for their LBTT e-connectivity. We suggest you advise staff and colleagues to use the paper LBTT version which will be available at www.SDLT.co.uk on the 1st April 2015 and let the dust settle.

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