Land Transaction Tax (“LTT”) will be charged on all land transactions in Wales from 1 April 2018 and will replace stamp duty land tax (“SDLT”). The funding represented from the SDLT tax receipts will be withdrawn from Welsh Government from 1 April 2018 and the potential shortfall in funding has prompted Welsh Government to bring forward the LTT regime.
Land Transaction Tax will be collected by the Welsh Revenue Authority (“WRA”) which will be formed as a non-Ministerial department of Welsh Government. Welsh Government and the WRA have been working with stakeholders over the introduction of LTT and the implementation of the legislation.
The tax procedures and powers of the WRA are contained in the Tax Collection and Management (Wales) Act 2016 which can be found [here].
The LTT legislation is contained in the Land Transaction Tax and Anti-Avoidance of Devolved Taxes (Wales) Act 2017 which received Royal Assent on 24 May 2017 and can be found [here].
The Land Transaction Tax legislation has borrowed heavily from the legislation for SDLT and therefore, anyone familiar with SDLT will feel immediately at home with the general concepts of LTT. However, there are some key differences with regard to tax avoidance with the introduction of a targeted anti-avoidance rule with regard to the use of Land Transaction Tax reliefs and a general anti-avoidance rule (which is wider in scope than the SDLT anti-avoidance provisions and the UK general anti-abuse rules). Any property purchasers looking to avoid LTT through the use of “schemes” could be in for a nasty shock.
Welsh Government have committed to publishing the rates and bands for LTT by 1 October 2017. The WRA Implementation Team are consulting with stakeholders regarding the look and operation of the Land Transaction Tax returns and electronic filing systems with a view to testing the systems in the Autumn. We can also expect to see the publication of legislation dealing with the treatment of land transactions which are exchanged before 1 April but do not complete until after 1 April 2018 and whether the transactions will be subject to SDLT or LTT.
Andrew Evans, who is both a solicitor and a Chartered Tax Adviser, has been involved with the development of the LTT through his membership of the Welsh Government’s Tax Advisory Group from March 2014 and as chair of the Welsh Government’s SDLT Technical Experts Group. Andrew has contributed to the development of the engagement of the WRA with stakeholders and provided feedback on the LTT systems and forms. Andrew has also written articles on LTT for a number of professional journals and presented seminars on LTT.