29 Jan 2021

Scottish Budget… and looking ahead to 3 March


 

The Scottish Budget has been outlined by Finance Secretary, Kate Forbes. A Budget that naturally focussed on covid issues. Here is an overview of some key fiscal points coming out of the Budget. And a look ahead to 3 March when the Chancellor will set out the next UK Budget.

Holiday’s over… on ‘stamp duty’

As timetabled, the ‘stamp duty holiday’ will end on 31 March. From 1 April, the rates on residential property Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (“LBTT”) will return to their previous position. The Additional Dwelling Supplement (“ADS”) is to remain at 4%.

On ADS, it was announced that a consultation will be carried out early in the next parliament to address perceived anomalies in its operation.

First time buyer relief will remain with us. This takes the LBTT nil rate band to £175,000 for first time buyers.

Non-residential LBTT rates will stay as they are.

Income Tax… no change on rates and bands

Apart from the highest rate, which remains at £150,000, the other bands will increase with inflation as expected.

However, the planned ‘effective Personal Allowance’ of £12,750 by the end of this parliamentary term has been shelved given wider (i.e. covid-related) priorities.

Under-‘rated’?

Business rates is a topic that until the pressures on the retail sector and then covid was not given the attention it perhaps deserved.

It was announced that retail, hospitality, leisure and aviation sectors will continue to receive 100% business rates for at least three months (to 30 June 2021). Any further extensions will depend on actions at a UK level.

More generally on non-domestic rates, the Budget brings a reduction in the basic poundage to 49p.

Now to 3 March… time to plan

As Kate Forbes opened today, some decisions of Scottish Government will depend on UK level decisions and the UK Budget. That Budget had been postponed from the slated late 2020 timing. But it will be with us on 3 March.

There could be tax changes in that Budget. And there are legal steps in solutions that individuals and others might want to take ahead of 3 March to plan for change.

Time is ticking, but the tools in e.g. trust and company law could be very useful to deploy to estate plan with potential reforms in the mix.

For help and advice on succession planning and related issues (for 3 March or otherwise) get in touch with Alan Eccles: alaneccles@bkf.co.uk