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Main points

We present these statistics on LTT transactions that we (the WRA) have received by 18 January 2021.

Figure 1.1 below shows:

  • quarterly estimates for October to December 2020
     
  • the percentage change against previous estimates for October to December 2019 (made in January 2020)

We explain why these comparisons are made in Section 1 of this release (‘Comparisons with the same period a year earlier’)

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Figure 1.1 shows the number of reported notifiable transactions, tax due and % change from the previous estimate a year earlier. These values are shown for October to December 2020, with a breakdown by type of transaction.


LTT statistics by time period and transaction type on StatsWales

Since April 2020, coronavirus (COVID-19) had a major impact on the number of property transactions and tax due. This is the case for both residential and non-residential transactions.

Comparing October to December 2020 on a like-for like basis with the same three-month period in 2019:

  • residential transactions and tax due on those transactions increased by 10% and 17% respectively
     
  • higher rates transactions rose by 16%
     
  • non-residential transactions were flat. Tax due from non-residential transactions fell by 10%

Part of the reason for the increases in residential transactions is a partial recovery in activity following the reductions in the earlier part of the year due to coronavirus (COVID-19). During this October to December 2020 period, transactions have risen above the previous year’s figures for the first time since the initial outbreak, building on the initial early signs of recovery reported in our previous quarterly release.

A greater recovery is evident in higher rates residential transactions (and the additional revenue from these) than for all residential transactions.

The residential increases above are fuelled in part by a rise in transactions but also by a rise in the values of those transactions. These more than offset a temporary reduction in rates that impacted main rates revenues (see effects of coronavirus (COVID-19) and changes to LTT rates).This also has an impact of skewing more of the increase towards the additional revenue from higher rates which is explained in more detail later.

Effects of coronavirus (COVID-19) and changes to LTT rates

The data in this release should be considered in the context of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This had a significant impact on the number of property transactions and tax due during 2020-21. It therefore affects comparisons made between this period and the same period in 2019-20.

The national lockdown imposed on 23 March 2020 resulted in the housing market being mainly closed until it was partially re-opened on 22 June. At that point, house viewings could take place in vacant properties along with house moves where a sale had been agreed but not yet completed. The market was then more fully opened on 27 July 2020 to coincide with a change in LTT rates on that date, effective until 31 March 2021. Although there were some further local lockdowns imposed during the period reported in this release (end December 2020), these appear to have had only a minor impact on transaction counts and the recovery referred to above.

There were further changes to LTT rates effective from 22 December 2020. However, these changes had little impact on October to December 2020 data (less than 100 higher rates and less than 30 non-residential transactions were impacted in this period) and so will be considered more fully in our next quarterly release.

It is not possible to isolate the impact of the LTT rate change from the general recovery that is likely to have occurred due to easing of coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions. However, on a per transaction basis, we can quantify the impact.

The first rate change only applies to residential transactions at the main rate. The rates for all residential transactions at the higher rate and non-residential transactions were unchanged. For these main rate transactions, the threshold at which LTT rates was charged was raised from £180,000 to £250,000, so that the tax on all those with a value of £250,000 or less is reduced to zero. Although the LTT rates on property values above £250,000 were unchanged, those transactions also benefit from the increased threshold on the first £250,000 of their value. In these cases, LTT is reduced by £2,450 compared with that which would have been charged previously.

The second rate change from 22 December 2020 introduced the following:

  • an increase of 1% across all bands for the higher residential rates of tax
     
  • for non-residential transactions, the zero-rate band charged for lease premiums and assignments, and freehold property transfers increased from £150,000 to £225,000
     
  • the zero-rate band of the tax charged on the rent element of non-residential leases increased from £150,000 to £225,000

The combined impact of the pandemic and the first rate change can be seen in Figure 2.1. Following an initial sharp drop in April and May 2020, there has been a steady recovery in numbers of residential and non-residential transactions since. In total, there were 2,130 residential and non-residential transactions effective in April 2020, which was just under half of the number seen in April 2019. The recovery in the property market that followed saw residential transactions increase but continue to be below the levels of 2019, until the end of September 2020. During October, November and December 2020, numbers have been higher than in the same months of 2019, representing the partial recovery referred to above.

Unlike in the first lockdown in March, the property market was largely allowed to continue in the 2-week lockdown at end October and the further lockdown introduced on 20 December to date. The dampening in property transactions seen in the first lockdown in March has not yet been seen to the same extent in later lockdowns. It remains to be seen if the 20 December lockdown has any significant impact on activity in the early part of 2021, which will be covered in our next quarterly release.

1. About these statistics

Introduction of LTT

From 1 April 2018, LTT replaced Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) on residential and non-residential property and land interests purchased in Wales. The tax rates and tax bands for LTT vary depending on the type of transaction.

LTT statistics are not fully comparable to previous SDLT statistics. This is because different rates and bands are used in LTT. The reliefs may also be different for the two taxes. For example, first time buyers’ relief applies to SDLT but not to LTT.

Value of LTT statistics

Timely information on activity in the property market is important for policy makers. When filing an LTT return about a property transaction, the organisation paying the return has 30 days after the effective date to submit and pay any tax due. Therefore, LTT statistics are relatively timely.

Forecasting LTT revenues for Wales in future is an important use of LTT statistics. The Welsh Government and the Office for Budget Responsibility mainly do this.

Data available for LTT

All of the data used in this statistical release is available in a spreadsheet on the headline statistics page.

Annually, we also publish geographic datasets for LTT on the StatsWales website. This includes annual data by:

  • local authority
     
  • Senedd constituency (residential transactions only)
     
  • level of deprivation, using the Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation (residential transactions only)
     
  • built up areas (residential transactions only)

For data at the Wales level, we provide links to the relevant StatsWales datasets throughout this release.

Timing of and revisions to LTT statistics

The diagram on the key quality information page explains the timing of LTT statistics. We present provisional estimates for December 2020, the quarter October to December 2020 and revised estimates for periods before this. We will revise the provisional data in future. Not all tax returns for these periods may yet have been received.

In future, we may continue to revise statistics for earlier periods to account for any amendments to transactions and new tax returns received. Reasons for this include:

  • higher rate refunds being made for several years after the date of the original transaction
     
  • taxpayers mistakenly sending tax returns to HMRC which relate to Welsh property transactions. Once the error is realised, it can take some time for the taxpayer to send the return correctly to the WRA.

Comparisons with the same period a year earlier

There can be seasonal patterns in the property market, with higher levels of activity generally seen in the summer and autumn, and lower levels in winter and spring. These effects are also seen in the levels of transactions and tax due. Therefore, it can be helpful to compare the current period with data for the same period a year earlier.

However, in our monthly and quarterly statistics, we are gradually revising downwards the tax due for earlier periods. This is because of higher rate refunds being paid out in each month (for higher rates residential transactions which were effective in earlier periods, back to April 2018).

The value for October to December 2019 will have already been subject to some of this downward revision, whereas the equivalent figure for October to December 2020 will not yet. In future, there will also be some upward revisions to the values for October to December 2020 due to late transactions.

Therefore in this release, we compare:

  • October to December 2020 data; and
     
  • our previous estimates for October to December 2019 (which we published in January 2020)

This provides for the fairest comparisons over time. However, all comparisons of 2020-21 data against 2019-20 data should be considered in light of the effects of coronavirus (COVID-19) and changes to LTT rates.

Key quality information and glossary pages

Please see the separate glossary and key quality information while reading this statistical release:

  • we define relevant terms in the glossary as they are used in this release
     
  • on the key quality information page, we describe how Land Transaction Tax statistics meet the Code of Practice for Statistics and the dimensions of value, trustworthiness and quality

Properties or land sold more than once

These statistics relate to transactions which were effective in particular month, quarter or year. A property or piece of land may have been sold more than once in that time. If so, it would feature multiple times in the statistics.

For example, in April 2019 to March 2020, our best estimate is that between 4% and 5% of transactions involved a piece of land or property which has been sold more than once in the year.

2. Transactions, tax due and property value taxed

In March 2020, we released an update on publishing WRA statistics due to coronavirus (COVID-19). We stated then that in our releases for LTT, we would look at any potential impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19) on our statistics. 

To understand the impacts on number of transactions, tax due and value of property taxed, users should refer to the section of this release ‘Effects of coronavirus (COVID-19) and changes to LTT rates

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Figure 2.1 shows the number of residential and non-residential transactions submitted to the WRA each week from January 2019 to January 2021. Please note that this chart includes a small number of transactions effective in January 2020.


Weekly number of transactions submitted to the WRA (MS Excel)

Figure 2.1 above shows the total number of transactions submitted to the WRA in each 7-day period for the latest 2 financial years. These periods begin on a Saturday and end on the following Friday. For example, the point ’16.1’ in 2020-21 shows the number of residential and non-residential transactions submitted to the WRA from 16 to 22 January 2021 (inclusive). The actual dates differ slightly in the previous year. For example, the same week in 2019-20 ran from 18 to 24 January 2020 (inclusive).

Please note that Figure 2.1 shows data by submitted date. This differs from effective date, which is the date we use for most analysis in this release.

The weekly number of transactions submitted dropped sharply in April 2020 following the coronavirus outbreak, particularly in the residential sector.

The weekly number of transactions submitted from April to July 2020 ranged between 40% to 60% of the number seen in the same week of 2019 and averaged at around 50% over the whole period. Since then, there has been a recovery in transactions, with levels similar to or above those seen in the previous year from October onwards.

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Figure 2.2 shows the number of reported notifiable transactions, by the quarter and year in which they were effective. Figure 2.2 also shows a breakdown for residential and non-residential transactions.


LTT statistics by time period and transaction type on StatsWales (also includes data for 2018-19, not presented above)

By the close of 18 January 2021, we received details of 18,150 notifiable transactions with an effective date in October to December 2020. This is 9% higher than our estimate for October to December 2019 (made in January 2020 – see Figure 1.1).

The corresponding changes for residential, higher rates residential and non-residential transactions were 10% increase, 16% increase and no change, respectively. So far, coronavirus (COVID-19) has had a greater impact on residential transactions than on non-residential. There has been a greater recovery to date for higher rates residential transactions than for all residential transactions.

In October to December 2020, 92% of transactions were residential and 8% were non-residential. In the previous three-month period, residential transactions made up a slightly lesser share of all transactions (89%).

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Figure 2.3 shows the tax due on reported notifiable transactions, by the quarter and year in which the transactions were effective. Figure 2.3 also shows a breakdown for residential and non-residential transactions.


LTT statistics by time period and transaction type on StatsWales (also includes data for 2018-19, not presented above)

LTT statistics on total tax due including transactions with restricted detail on StatsWales (includes data for 2018-19, not presented above)

Additional transactions which were untypically large

‘Untypically large transactions’ in April 2019 to March 2020 entirely consists of a small number of public sector transactions. These transactions relate to Transport for Wales’ purchase from Network Rail of the Core Valley Line rail asset in Wales. Details of these transactions are presented here to aid transparency of this large public sector transaction, with agreement of the buyer (Transport for Wales) and seller (Network Rail). Further information on these transactions is available from the Transport for Wales website.

Additional transactions with restricted detail (to protect confidentiality)

For some transactions, we are unable to provide any information other than the total tax due figure in the year, as there is a risk of revealing details of the individual transactions. These are rounded to the nearest million pounds for additional protection. They should only be included if seeking a value for total LTT revenue in the year April 2019 to March 2020.

Quarterly comparisons on a like-for-like basis

Excluding the transactions described above, the total tax due for transactions with an effective date in October to December 2020 was £74.8 million. This value is 9% higher than our estimate for October to December 2019 (published in January 2020 – see Figure 1.1).

The corresponding changes for residential tax due, additional revenue from higher rates residential, and non-residential tax due were a rise of 17%, a rise of 42%, and a fall of 10%, respectively.

The residential increases have been fuelled in part by the rise in transactions but also by a rise in the values of those transactions, which more than offset the temporary reduction in rates that impacted main rates revenues (see ‘Effects of coronavirus (COVID-19) and changes to LTT rates’).

The increase is also in part due to a greater prevalence of higher rates transactions within the residential total. Note though the increase of 42% in additional revenue is somewhat inflated by this temporary reduction in main rates as that reduction was not also applied to higher rates transactions. The result is that all revenue in October to December 2020 from higher rates is classed as “additional” revenue, whereas in the same period of 2019, the “additional” element would have excluded any main rates elements.

For example, the component of tax due in the band £180,000 to £250,000 was previously 3% of the property value (for main rates residential transactions effective up to 26 July 2020). From 27 July 2020 until 31 March 2020, this changed to 0%, whereas for residential transactions at the higher rates, the component of tax due on this band was unchanged at 6.5%. Therefore, for higher rates transactions, all the revenue in this band is now counted as additional revenue.

In this case, it is therefore safer to focus on the increase in tax across all residential transactions if making the comparisons above (namely, the 17% figure). This being larger than the increase in the number of transactions (10%) demonstrates that a mix of both the number and value of those transactions is at play.

For non-residential transactions, we can see that tax due in October to December 2020 is down on the corresponding period in 2019, despite no change in the number of transactions. In the last release, it was suggested that this may be an indicator that higher value transactions may be recovering more slowly. This data does not yet provide further evidence of whether that is the case. We will report further on this trend as it develops in our next quarterly release.

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Figure 2.4 shows the value of properties subject to LTT, by the quarter and year in which the transactions were effective. Figure 2.4 also shows a breakdown for residential and non-residential transactions, and separate figures for the rental value of newly granted non-residential leases.


LTT statistics by time period and transaction type on StatsWales (also includes data for 2018-19, not presented above)

The value of property taxed in October to December 2020 was £4.0 billion, higher than the £3.4 billion seen in October to December 2019. This is consistent with the rise in residential transactions but also by a rise in the values of those transactions (described under Figure 2.3). Section 3 of this release describes trends in residential transactions and tax due by value.

Separately, in October to December 2020, the rental value for newly granted non-residential leases was £270 million. The equivalent figure in October to December 2019 was £345 million.

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Figure 2.5 shows the monthly numbers of reported notifiable transactions from April 2019 to December 2020, for residential and non-residential transactions.


LTT statistics by time period and transaction type on StatsWales (includes data for 2018-19, not presented above)

2019-20 residential data

The numbers of residential transactions by effective month varied somewhat since April 2019. There is general seasonality with more transactions in the summer and autumn months, although some fluctuation is due to there being five Fridays in certain months, rather than four. Figure 2.9 in our annual statistical release shows that nearly half of transactions have an effective date that is a Friday.

2020-21 residential data

Following the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in March 2020, the monthly number of residential transactions dropped significantly in April. Since then it has gradually recovered, rising above the numbers seen in the previous year in October, November and December. Within this number, higher rate residential transactions have recovered to a greater extent.

Non-residential

In March 2020, we see an increase from the previous month (February) in non-residential transactions. This may be expected, as it is common for non-residential leases to be renewed at the end of the financial year.

Since then, the impact of coronavirus is less easily seen in non-residential transactions. This is in part due to the lower number of transactions generally, and also that the numbers of transactions have generally held up better than those for residential.

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Figure 2.6a shows the monthly amount of tax due on reported notifiable transactions from April 2019 to December 2020, for residential and non-residential transactions.


LTT statistics by time period and transaction type on StatsWales (includes data for 2018-19, not presented above)

As may be expected, similar trends are seen in the monthly residential tax due as are seen in the monthly counts of transactions, although there has been an even greater recovery in revenues for higher rates transactions than for all residential transactions. In October, November and December 2020, the additional revenue from higher residential transactions had recovered to considerably above the level seen in the same months in 2019, although the former will reduce slightly as refunds yet to be claimed are processed.

There is greater volatility in the monthly series for non-residential transactions. They also make up a larger share of total tax due than the share of the number of transactions.

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Figure 2.6b shows the monthly amount of tax due on reported notifiable transactions from April 2019 to December 2020, for non-residential transactions.


LTT statistics by time period and transaction type on StatsWales (includes data for 2018-19, not presented above)

Non-residential revenues were steady in April 2020, due to a small number of large transactions in April. Non-residential revenues then fell to the lowest level seen to date in May 2020 (£1.5 million), before generally recovering in the remainder of 2020.

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Figure 2.7 shows the percentage of transactions involving conveyance / transfer of ownership, granting of a new lease or assignment of a lease, for October to December 2020. Separate percentages are given for residential and non-residential transactions.


LTT statistics by transaction type and transaction description on StatsWales

The value of the properties associated with conveyances and transfer of ownership during October to December 2020 was £3.8 billion (not shown in Figure 2.7).

Most transactions in October to December 2020 were associated with a conveyance or a transfer of ownership. This figure was 95% for residential transactions and 68% for non-residential transactions.

A new lease was granted in 28% of non-residential transactions (compared with 2% of residential transactions).

Similar percentages are seen in previous three-month periods and years.

3. Residential transactions by value

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Figure 3.1 shows the number of residential transactions, by residential tax band and quarter the transaction was effective.

 

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Figure 3.2 shows the tax due on residential transactions, by residential tax band and the quarter the transaction was effective.


LTT statistics by time period and residential transaction value on StatsWales

For each tax band, Figures 3.1 and 3.2 show the quarterly trends in the number of residential transactions and tax due. There are six residential tax bands. We have combined the largest three bands here to show results for properties purchased for more than £400,000.

In April to June 2020, the number of transactions and tax due in each band fell to the lowest levels seen to date. Transactions and tax due in each band partly recovered in July to September 2020, followed by a much greater increase in tax due seen in October to December 2020. To understand these trends, users should refer to the section of this release ‘Effects of coronavirus (COVID-19) and changes to the LTT rates’.

Similar seasonal trends for the tax bands can be seen in both numbers of transactions and tax due. Most of the tax bands show a fall in transactions and tax due in January to March (compared with the preceding October to December).

However, there is greater volatility in the trends when considering the tax due on properties in the higher value bands. For properties purchased for more than £400,000, the tax due in October to December 2020 was the highest quarterly value seen to date. This was also the case for properties purchased for between £250,000 and £400,000. These recent trends are driven by a combination of increases in the number of transactions, particularly at the higher rates and the value of those transactions.

Further there is a noticeable drop in the value of tax due in transactions between £180,000 and £250,000 in the latest two quarters due to the temporary reduction in LTT rates for main rate residential transactions introduced on 27 July 2020.

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Figure 3.3 shows the number of residential transactions and amount of tax due, by residential tax band. Data is presented as the percentage of transactions or tax due and relates to transactions effective in October to December 2020.


LTT statistics by time period and residential transaction value on StatsWales

In October to December 2020, 53% of residential transactions were within the first tax band (purchase price £180,000 or lower). Although the main tax rate on residential transactions of up to £180,000 is 0%, these transactions still accounted for 15% of total residential tax due, which relates to the higher rates residential component of the tax.

The 21% of transactions in the second tax band (purchase price £180,001 to £250,000) accounted for a lower proportion of the tax due (8%) than seen in April to June 2020 and earlier quarters (previously around 15%). This effect would be expected due to the LTT rate change on 27 July 2020.

Combining the fourth, fifth and sixth bands (purchase price of greater than £400,000), these accounted for 7% of transactions. However, the tax due for these transactions accounted for 47% of the total residential tax due, the highest proportion to date.

4. Non-residential transactions by value

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Figure 4.1 shows the number of non-residential transactions by value of the property. Data is shown for the quarter in which the transaction was effective.

 

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Figure 4.2 shows the amount of tax due on non-residential transactions by value of the property. Data is shown for the quarter in which the transaction was effective.


LTT statistics by time period and non-residential transaction value on StatsWales

For each tax band, Figures 4.1 and 4.2 show the quarterly trends in the number of non-residential transactions and tax due. There are four tax bands for the non-rental value. We have combined the smallest two bands here to show results for properties with a non-rental value than £250,000.

Figure 4.1 shows that in April to June 2020, the number of transactions in each value band fell to the lowest quarterly values seen to date, before recovering partially in July to September 2020 and October to December 2020. To understand these trends, users should refer to the section of this release ‘Effects of coronavirus (COVID-19) and the LTT rate change on 27 July 2020’.

In each three-month period since April 2018, around 50% to 70% of the tax due has been contributed by transactions with a non-rental value greater than £1 million. In each three-month period, around 10% to 30% of the tax due has been contributed by the rental value of non-residential properties.

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Figure 4.3 shows the number of non-residential transactions by value of the property. Data is presented as the percentage of transactions and relates to transactions effective in October to December 2020.

 

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Figure 4.4 shows the amount of tax due on non-residential transactions, by value of the property. Data is presented as the percentage of transactions and relates to transactions effective in October to December 2020.


LTT statistics by time period and non-residential transaction value on StatsWales

Figure 4.3 shows that in October to December 2020, 6% of non-residential transactions had a non-rental value of more than £1 million. These transactions accounted for 71% of the non-residential tax due (Figure 4.4).

Figure 4.3 also shows that for 25% of non-residential transactions in this period, a rental value was associated with the property (which contributed to the tax paid on the transaction).

The rental value of non-residential properties accounted for 10% of the total non-residential tax due (Figure 4.4).

5. Reliefs

Taxpayers can claim reliefs on both residential and non-residential transactions. Reliefs reduce the amount of tax due when certain conditions are met. More than one relief can be applied to a single transaction.

Reliefs may reduce the tax due:

  • to zero, known as a full relief
     
  • or by a certain percentage or amount, known as a partial relief
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Figure 5.1 shows the number of reliefs applied to residential and non-residential transactions, by type of relief and quarter the transaction was relieved.


LTT statistics on reliefs by measure and transaction type on StatsWales

There were 390 transactions in October to December 2020 with reliefs applied to them that reduced the associated tax due. This is the highest quarterly number seen since October to December 2019. The lowest quarterly value seen to date were the 150 and 250 relieved transactions seen in April to June 2020 and July to September 2020. These effects are consistent with recent trends in transactions numbers as a whole and should be read in the context of the earlier section on the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) on the property market from April 2020 and the changes to LTT rates.

On average, there are around 120 reliefs claimed in each three-month period which had no impact on the tax due. These reliefs are excluded from Figure 5.1. Many of them have been reported unnecessarily by the organisations completing the tax return.

As an example, some of these mistakenly claimed reliefs apply to low value residential transactions. Indications are that they are due to a perceived but mistaken need to claim first time buyer relief (which applies for the predecessor tax, but not to LTT). This is known following queries raised with several agents asking why tax reliefs have been claimed where there is no impact on value of the tax. Further information about this category of reliefs is provided in Example 4 in our key quality information.

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Figure 5.2 shows the amount of tax relieved on residential and non-residential transactions effective, by type of relief and quarter the transaction was effective.


LTT statistics on reliefs by measure and transaction type on StatsWales

For each three-month period, the numbers of reliefs claimed on residential transactions was higher than for non-residential transactions. The value of reliefs claimed in each three-month has varied considerably over time, along with the share of the value from residential or non-residential transactions. In most of the three-month periods, non-residential transactions contributed over 50% of the total value of reliefs claimed. 

However, several large residential transactions in April to June 2019 and October to December 2020 contributed to residential reliefs being considerably larger than non-residential reliefs in this period.

Further data on reliefs is available on StatsWales at the link above, including quarterly data by type of relief.

6. Higher rate refunds

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Figure 6.1 shows the number and value of refunds of higher rate residential issued, by quarter in which the original transaction was effective.


LTT statistics on higher rate refunds by original transaction date on StatsWales

When a taxpayer claims a refund for higher rates residential LTT, the original transaction is amended to a main rate residential LTT transaction. The data in this release is adjusted for any refunds approved by WRA up to and including 18 January 2021.

(not shown in Figure 6.1) Cumulatively, 3,140 higher rate refunds were claimed for transactions effective since April 2018, with £25.0 million refunded to taxpayers.

Taxpayers have up to three years to sell their previous main residence and claim a refund. Therefore, all the values in Figure 6.1 will continue to be revised upwards in future editions of our statistics. This will lead to the total tax due in other tables and charts reducing.

The number and value of refunds presented for October to December 2020 is lower than for earlier periods. This is because compared with earlier periods, not enough time has passed since the transaction was effective for many of the relevant taxpayers to sell their previous main residence and claim their refund.

Refunds of higher rates residential by date the refund was approved

Another useful way of presenting data on higher rates refunds is to use the date when the refund was approved by the WRA. A dataset using these dates and the effective date of the original transaction can be found on the StatsWales website at the link below.

LTT statistics on higher rate refunds by original transaction date and refund approved date on StatsWales

Refunds of higher rates residential (cash basis)

Further information on the refund payments made to taxpayers, by the month in which they were made, can be found at the link below.

LTT statistics on tax paid and higher rate refunds (cash basis) on StatsWales

In the main, these additional data are provided to support forecasting requirements.

Intention to claim a refund of the higher rates element

For all higher rates transactions, the WRA asks the question whether the taxpayer intends to reclaim the higher rates element in future. It will take several years before we know how likely someone is to claim based on their stated intentions (it can take up to three years to make the claim). But we do currently know that around 70% of those who do claim answer this question in the positive.

7. Tax paid

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Figure 7.1 shows the monthly amounts of Land Transaction Tax paid to the Welsh Revenue Authority, for April 2018 to December 2020.


LTT statistics on tax paid and higher rate refunds (cash basis) on StatsWales

These data on LTT payments received differ from those reported in Figure 2.3 as they relate to the payments received in each month (often referred to as ‘on a cash basis’). This differs from earlier tables in this release which are based on transactions that were effective in the month.

There is a difference in April 2018 as the WRA only started collecting the tax in that month. Therefore, no payments relating to transactions effective in earlier months were relevant.

Excluding the core valley lines transaction (described under Figure 2.3):

  • the highest monthly receipts seen to date were in December 2019 (£30.5 million)
     
  • the second highest monthly receipts seen to date were in December 2020 (£29.4 million)
     
  • receipts in April to October 2020 were markedly lower than the same months in 2019, although the steady recovery evident in the numbers of transactions following coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdowns is borne out by similar increases in receipts during the latter part of 2020

Annex A: Analysis of revisions

We look here at the effect of the regular revisions made to Land Transaction Tax statistics. We analyse the differences between the first, second and third estimates published for a month. This is for both the number of transactions and the tax due.

For example, we have published three estimates for October 2020. We published the first estimate on 20 November 2020, published the second estimate on 23 December 2020 and the third estimate on 28 January 2021.

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Figure A1 shows the percentage change between the first and second estimates, by month transaction was effective. The percentages are shown for the change in the number of transactions and the change in tax due.


Percentage change between the first and second estimates, by month transaction was effective (MS Excel)

Figure A1 shows that higher levels of revisions can generally be seen in the earlier months that the WRA began collecting LTT. This is particularly the case for the tax due for transactions with an effective date in April 2018, where there was a 30% increase in the estimate of tax due (from the first to the second estimate for the month). A larger revision in April 2018 was expected because the familiarity of the system to users would have been lower, and also because an earlier cut-off date in the following month was used to extract the data.

Nevertheless, the 30% figure for April 2018 in terms of tax due is considerably higher than the equivalent figure for the number of transactions (11%). It is explained by a few larger transactions with an effective date late in April 2018 that were not reported to WRA until later in May 2018 (before the 30 day filing limit, but after the cut-off date for the April publication).

Figure A1 also shows the levels of revisions have generally decreased over time. Since October 2018, the revisions between the first and second monthly estimates have generally been between 0 and 5%. Recent exceptions were:

  • June 2019 when the tax due was revised up by 9% between the first and second estimate
     
  • September 2019 (tax due was revised upwards by 16%)
     
  • January 2020 (tax due was revised upwards by 27%)
     
  • March 2020 (tax due was revised upwards by 6%)

These exceptions are generally due to a small number of larger value returns arriving towards the end of the 30-day notification period.

The lower level of revisions generally seen now is likely to be due in part to an increasing familiarity with the system amongst solicitors and conveyancers completing the returns. It is consistent with a general decrease in the time taken for returns to be filed with the WRA over the same period (not shown in tables or charts).

There may also be seasonal effects in revisions to the data. Although we saw higher revisions for the July 2018 estimates than the months around it, we do not see any obvious similarities in data for 2019 or 2020. Therefore we will require at least another year’s worth of data to properly assess any revisions for seasonality.

Revisions between second and third published estimates

In a spreadsheet published alongside this statistical release, Tables A1 and A2 show the difference between first, second and third published estimates for a month.

We see relatively small increases between the second and third estimates for a month. In general, this is also the case for the later estimates for a month (not shown in the tables). However, falls may be seen in the second, third and later estimates of tax due for a month. This is because the data are shown net of any refunds for higher rate residential transactions. These refunds may be claimed several years after the effective date of the original transaction. We analyse refunds in section 6 of this statistical release.

In future, we may consider applying a grossing factor to the first estimates for a month. This may help reduce the revisions required to the first estimate for a month. With the volatility shown in the data to date, it is likely we will need several years of LTT data to calculate appropriate grossing factors.

In general, we see larger revisions in the data on non-residential transactions than for residential transactions. This reflects the more volatile nature and often larger size of non-residential transactions.

Links to key quality information and glossary pages

Our key quality information page describes how our Land Transaction Tax statistics meet the Code of Practice for Statistics and the dimensions of value, trustworthiness and quality.

We define relevant terms in the glossary as they are used in this release.

Feedback and contact details

We would be grateful for your feedback on these statistics, to help us improve them. Please contact us using the details below.

Adam Al-Nuaimi

Telephone: 03000 254 670

Media

Telephone: 03000 254 770

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