Scotland politics

Scotland's stamp duty plan is approved by Holyrood

A bill allowing the Scottish Parliament to set and collect stamp duty from the sale of properties has been approved by MSPs.

Ministers are hailing the move as "historic", adding that it would revitalise the housing market.

However, opposition MSPs said they want more detail on who would pay what.

The Land and Building Transactions Tax (Scotland) Bill includes a progressive as opposed to a flat rate levy. It also sets up a new body to gather the tax.

Revenue Scotland will work with Registers of Scotland to enable the collection and administration of the tax.

Ministers want the revenue tool to come into force from April 2015.

Scottish Finance Secretary John Swinney told BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme that he would not reveal the rates and bands of the new tax until September 2014 when he presents his budget to the Scottish Parliament.

However, during the consultation process for the bill, the government suggested indicative rates.

Based on that information a new progressive system in Scotland would see those buying properties under £180,000 pay no stamp duty.

The tax would then be applied at a stepped rate on the amount above £180,000.

The current stamp duty rate, which is the same throughout the UK, does not apply to properties under the price of £125,000. However, the duty on properties costing more than £125,000 is applied to the whole of the sum.

Mr Swinney said: "With parliament's approval the passing of this bill will be a huge milestone for Scotland - it will enable us to set and collect taxes in a more cost effective and fairer way than the UK government.

"This bill will 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.

"It is this government's belief that tax should be proportionate. That means taxpayers should have certainty about what they should pay - it should be convenient and it should be efficient.

"It is my vision that Scotland should have a modern and efficient tax system, grounded on solid foundations and delivering sustainable economic growth.

Scottish Conservative finance spokesman Gavin Brown said: "While welcoming much of the bill we are disappointed the Scottish Government refused to accept my amendment forcing it to give 12 months' notice of the rates.

"This is a particular problem because this is an entirely new tax with a different framework, rates and thresholds.

"All of this creates great uncertainty within Scotland's business community."

Control of stamp duty on land and property has been devolved from Westminster to Holyrood under the recently passed Scotland Act.

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