Lenders and Intermediaries brace themselves for Scottish remortgage reverse.
October 15, 2015
MMI Property Commentary
October 28, 2015

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: the first six months of the Scottish “Stamp Duty” LBTT

It was with some fanfare that the first purely Scottish tax in over 300 years was launched earlier this year.

As a trailblazer for Scottish taxation, it was essential for the Scottish authorities that the new tax worked both from a practicable point of view and as an exemplar of the progressive taxation that they are keen to espouse.

The Good

The mechanics work and they work well. The tax is more progressive in its impact and is less burdensome for those at the lower middle of the market.

The Bad​

You do not get something for nothing and easing the implications of the tax at the lower and lower middle part of the market means that it is more expensive in the uppermiddle and "executive" market. It creates major disincentives in the market and, out with "hotspots", has exacerbated the lack of activity in the upper parts of the market.

The Ugly

The apocryphal evidence from the marketplace suggests that the impact on the "executive" part of the market has been pretty substantial. The first response of many may be "so what?".

But the problem is that if a market is to function properly then there needs to be movement throughout its spectrum. It was already the case in Scotland that activity from the middle of the market through to its upper reaches was far less buoyant (excluding those hotspots) than in the lower half of the market.

This is creating very considerable distortions. "Executive properties" in many places have not maintained their value and are not selling well. This creates bunching in the market and places under scrutiny whether the assumptions behind the calculation of the new tax will work as intended. If the upper part of the market is not producing the high level of returns that were expected then something will need to replace the lost tax revenues.

So, at the moment, the jury is out and it will be interesting to review the actual performance of the tax as against the old Stamp Duty when figures are released.

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