Mark Drakeford, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Local Government
I have provided an update today on fiscal devolution in which I stated my intention to introduce the new devolved taxes, Land Transaction Tax and Landfill Disposals Tax, as soon as possible.
I am pleased to announce that I am publishing a draft of the Land Transaction Tax and Anti-avoidance of Devolved Taxes (Wales) Bill and Explanatory Memorandum today. This draft is published to provide Assembly Members and interested stakeholders with an opportunity over the summer to become familiar with what is a long, technical and complex bill, prior to its formal introduction in the autumn.
The Land Transaction Tax and Anti-avoidance of Devolved Taxes (Wales) Bill will make provision for a tax on land transactions from 1 April 2018, replacing Stamp Duty Land Tax in Wales. We have engaged widely on the policy design and development of this tax. Broadly, stakeholders called for consistency with the current UK tax unless there was a case for diverging on grounds of improving efficiency, effectiveness, or to provide a focus on Welsh needs and priorities. This remains the approach to be adopted: there will be no change for change’s sake. The bill retains key elements of Stamp Duty Land Tax, including the approach to partnerships, trusts and companies, and broadly to reliefs and exemptions.
I am mindful of the recent changes both the UK and Scottish governments have made to their respective taxes, in particular the additional rate on second homes. The UK changes were consulted upon in Wales, England and Northern Ireland this year and the legislation is currently progressing through the UK Parliament. I will publish a technical consultation about the Welsh policy approach to ensure taxpayers, agents and wider stakeholders have an opportunity to contribute their views about how this might work in Wales, with a view to introducing legislation on this during the scrutiny process of the Land Transaction Tax and Anti-avoidance of Devolved Taxes (Wales) Bill.
The aim of publishing a draft of the bill today is not for further consultation purposes, but to assist with familiarisation. Work continues on the preparation of the bill and there are likely to be changes before its introduction into the Assembly. This is not therefore a final version of the bill.
My officials will continue to engage with businesses, tax experts and other stakeholders in the run up to the introduction of Land Transaction Tax legislation in the autumn.
I look forward to working with the Assembly on the provisions of the bill during scrutiny after the bill is introduced in the autumn.