Tax support for businesses

Non-Domestic Rates legislation.

New draft legislation on non-domestic rates (NDR) aims to tackle tax avoidance and promote the Scottish Government’s ground-breaking Deposit Return Scheme.

Regulations laid before the Scottish Parliament will empower councils to crack down on tax-avoidance such as the artificial use of insolvency, leasing arrangements or shell companies.

They would also make owners of non-domestic properties liable for payment, rather than the property’s occupiers, and allow for liability for payment to be backdated if an offence is repeated within a five-year period.

In a separate move, parts of properties solely used to house reverse vending machines, which refund users for recycling drinks containers, would be exempt from NDR. This will support businesses to get ready for Scotland’s Deposit Return scheme.

Further amendments to NDR, announced in the Scottish Budget 2023-24, will be published shortly as part of a package of regulations to provide more help for businesses through the current cost of living crisis.

Public Finance Minister Tom Arthur said:

“The Scottish Government is committed to a fair and transparent system of non-domestic rates which supports businesses and communities.

“It is important that everyone pays their share and these regulations will help tackle those who seek to find loopholes to avoid payment.

“We want to ensure that parts of properties used for reverse vending machines are not liable to pay rates. This will incentivise and promote Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme which will launch on 16 August this year.

“Subject to the regulations passing in the Scottish Parliament, we will work to ensure Scotland’s non-domestic rates system remains progressive and in line with our net zero ambitions.”


The Non-Domestic Rates (Miscellaneous Anti-Avoidance Measures) (Scotland) Regulations 2023 will deliver on a commitment in the Bute House Agreement to help local authorities tackle tax avoidance tactics, including when they make decisions on applying empty property relief and charity relief.

The Non-Domestic Rating (Valuation of Sites of Reverse Vending Machines) (Scotland) Regulations 2023 will ensure the part of a non-domestic property used solely in the provision or use of a reverse vending machine, is not liable for rates.

The Scottish Budget 2023-24 announced the lowest poundage in the UK for the fifth year in a row and a package of reliefs worth an estimated £744 million.

Draft regulations are laid in order to be considered by Parliament before they are signed into law. These new regulations should come into force in Scotland on 1 April 2023.

Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme, the first of its kind in the UK, will launch on 16 August 2023. It will be a major part of the Scottish Government’s efforts to reduce littering and cut emissions by creating return points for recycling drinks containers. More information on operating a return point or applying for an exemption is available at


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