Publication - Consultation paper

Transient visitor levy: consultation

Published: 9 Sep 2019
Directorate:
Culture, Tourism and Major Events Directorate
Part of:
Economy
ISBN:
9781839601095

Views sought on the principles of a local discretionary transient visitor levy or tourist tax.

71 page PDF

1.2 MB

71 page PDF

1.2 MB

Contents
Transient visitor levy: consultation
Annex C: Consultation Questions

71 page PDF

1.2 MB

Annex C: Consultation Questions

The Scottish Government wishes to explore how much responsibility for the design of the visitor levy should sit at the local level.  

Q1.  Do you think that the design of a visitor levy should be set out:

a) wholly in a national framework 

b) mostly at a national level with some local discretion 

c) mostly at local level with some overarching national principles. 

Please tick one box

Please provide a reason (or reasons) for your answer:

Scottish Government is committed to legislating to provide local authorities with the power to apply a discretionary visitor levy.

Q2: Is an overnight stay in commercially let accommodation an appropriate basis for applying a levy on visitors?

Yes

No

Don’t know

Please provide a reason (or reasons) for your answer:

We wish to explore if it would be feasible for a visitor levy to be extended to other visitor activities notwithstanding the challenges this might present (see section 4.2)

Q3: Which of the following activities do you think a visitor levy could be robustly applied to and enforced, and how? 

Tick all boxes that apply and provide reasons where possible

Day visitors not staying overnight

Please explain how a visitor levy could be applied and enforced on day visitors:

Cruise ship passengers who disembark for a day before re-joining the vessel

Please explain how a visitor levy could be applied and enforced on cruise ship passengers:

Wild or rough camping, including in motorhomes and camper vans

Please explain how a visitor levy could be applied and enforced on rough camping, including motorhomes and camper vans:

Q4:  The consultation paper sets out four options for the basis of the charge (section 5.1).  

Please tick which one you think would work best in Scotland? (Tick one box below)

Flat rate per person per night

Flat rate per room per night

A percentage of total accommodation charge 

Flat rate per night dependent on the quality of accommodation

Please provide a reason (or reasons) for your answer:

Q5:  In addition, for each option in Q4 what are: the considerations for accommodation users, accommodation providers and local authorities.  

Flat rate per person per night 

Implications for accommodation users:

Implications for accommodation providers:

Implications for local authorities:

Flat rate per room

Implications for accommodation users:

Implications for accommodation providers:

Implications for local authorities:

A percentage of total accommodation charge 

Implications for accommodation users:

Implications for accommodation providers:

Implications for local authorities:

Flat rate per night dependent on the quality of accommodation

Implications for accommodation users:

Implications for accommodation providers:

Implications for local authorities:

Q6:  Do you think that the basis of the charge should be set out in a national framework, or be for a local authority to decide?

Tick one box:

Set out in a national framework

Decided by local authorities

Don’t know

Please provide a reason (or reasons) for your answer:

Q7:  Do you think that the rate of the visitor levy should be set out in a national framework or should it be for the local authority to decide? 

Tick one box:

Set out at national level

Decided by local authorities

Don’t know

Please provide a reason (or reasons) for your answer:

Q8: What factors should be considered to ensure the rate of the visitor levy is appropriate? 

Please provide a reason (or reasons) for your answer:

Q9: If the rate of the visitor levy were to be set by individual local authorities, should an upper limit or cap be set at a national level? 

Tick one box

Set out at a national level

Decided by local authorities

Don’t know

Please provide a reason (or reasons) for your answer:

The Scottish Government is of the opinion that there are some groups that it would be unacceptable to impose a visitor levy on under any circumstances.  These include:

  • Homeless people
  • Asylum seekers/refugees 
  • Travelling communities (such as Gypsy travellers and other traveller communities) 
  • Victims of domestic abuse placed temporarily in refuges or short term accommodation because their normal home is unsafe for them to stay in 
  • Those placed temporarily in refuges or short term accommodation because their normal home is unsafe for them to stay in.

Beyond these groups, other groups could be included for exemption either at the national or local level.  

Q10: Do you think that all exemptions should be the same across Scotland and therefore set out in the national legislation, or should local authorities have scope to select some exemptions?

Tick one box below: 

All exemptions should be the same across Scotland and local authorities should not have any discretion. 

Some exemptions should be set at national level, and some should be at the local authority’s discretion

Q11: Which additional exemptions from the list below do you think should be applied to a visitor levy? 

Tick all that apply 

Disabled people and registered blind/deaf and their carers

Those travelling out with their local authority area for medical care, and their carers 

or next of kin

Children and young people under a certain age

Students 

Long stay guests (e.g. people staying for more than 14 days)

Business travellers

Local resident (paying for overnight accommodation within the local authority in which they reside permanently) 

Q12: Are there any other exemptions that you think should apply?

Please list together with reasons below:

Q13: What is your view of the proposal that accommodation providers should be ultimately responsible for the collection and remittance to the appropriate local authority, even if the tax is collected by a third party booking agent or platform 

Tick one

Agree

Disagree 

Please explain and provide any other comments on this proposal:

Q14: If accommodation providers were required to remit visitor levies after the overnight stays to which they relate (even if the payment was made well in advance) how frequently should the levies collected be required to be remitted to the levying local authority?

Tick one box

Ongoing basis (e.g. each night)

Monthly

Quarterly

Annually 

Please provide a reason (or reasons) for your answer:

It will be necessary for accommodation providers to collect information from visitors to apply the visitor levy correctly and retain records to demonstrate compliance.  This information may vary depending on the basis of the charge.  It will be essential that local authorities and accommodation providers comply with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in handling personal data.

Q15: What information should an accommodation provider be required to collect and retain to ensure compliance?   

Please list below and explain why you think that information is needed for the four different scenarios below:

If the basis of the charge is on a:

a) flat rate per person per night

b) flat rate per room per night

c) percentage of total accommodation charge

d) flat rate per night dependent on the quality of accommodation 

Q16: How can a local authority choosing to apply a visitor levy ensure it has a comprehensive list of all those providing overnight accommodation on a commercial basis in their local authority area?

Please provide a reason (or reasons) for your answer: 

Q17: What enforcement powers should a local authority have to ensure compliance and prevent avoidance and evasion by accommodation providers?

Please provide a reason (or reasons) for your answer:

Q18: Should non-compliance by an accommodation provider be subject to a civil penalty (i.e a fine) and if so, what would be the appropriate level be?

Tick one:

Yes

No

Don’t Know

Please state level of civil penalty (fine) (in £ pounds sterling) that you think is appropriate?

Q19: A list of requirements that local authorities could be expected to meet before being able to introduce a visitor levy is summarised below.  

Do you agree or disagree with these options. (please tick the appropriate box)

If you have any other suggestion for requirements then please add these in the box below together with your reasons

Agree

Disagree

Produce an initial statement of intention to consider introducing a visitor levy

A timeframe for introduction of at least one financial year following conclusion of consultation and engagement activities

Have held a consultation in their local area to gather views from all those who will be affected by the visitor levy

Have conducted required impact assessments

Have assessed the administrative burden on businesses and taken steps to minimise this

If the legislation allows the rate to be set locally the local authority has demonstrated why the chosen rate of the visitor levy is optimal for that area

Have appropriate mechanisms in place to allow visitor levies collected to be remitted to the local authority

Have made information about the visitor levy and how to pay it available and in the public domain, for both business and visitors

The approach to collaborative decision making on revenue spending is set out in the public domain

Establish an approach to monitoring and publically reporting revenues raised and their expenditure on an annual basis

The approach to monitoring and reporting on the impact of the visitor levy on an annual basis, is clearly set out in the public domain

Establish an approach to evaluating and publically reporting, the impact of the visitor levy, within a reasonable period after introduction

Please add any other comments on the requirements listed above 

Please list any other requirements you think might be necessary, together with reasons below:

Q20: Should Scottish Government be able to prevent a local authority from applying a visitor levy? 

Yes

No

Don’t Know

Q21: Under what circumstances should Scottish Government be able to do this?

Please provide a reason (or reasons) for your answer:

Q22: What requirements might be placed on local authorities to engage with local stakeholders to determine how revenues are spent?

Please provide a reason (or reasons) for your answer:

Q23: How might this engagement be best achieved?

Please provide a reason (or reasons) for your answer:

Q24: Should revenues from a visitor levy be allocated to priorities articulated through local tourism strategies, where they exist?

Yes

No 

Don’t Know

Please provide a reason (or reasons) for your answer:

Q25: What reporting arrangements might be required of local authorities to account for the expenditure of receipts from a visitor levy?

Please provide a reason (or reasons) for your answer:

Q26: If a local authority was to impose a visitor levy on a specific area within the authority, should any revenue raised have to be spent only in that area? 

Yes

No 

Don’t Know

Please provide a reason (or reasons) for your answer:

Q27: Is the name ‘visitor levy’ appropriate for the new powers proposed in the consultation document? 

Yes

No 

Don’t Know

Please provide a reason (or reasons) for your answer:

Q28: If not, what do you consider to be a better alternative and why?

Please provide a reason (or reasons) for your answer:

Under existing law accommodation providers already must clearly display the price of their accommodation and any VAT which applies to their prices.

Q29: What requirements should apply to ensure accommodation prices transparently display a visitor levy?

Please provide a reason (or reasons) for your answer:

Q30: What, if any, transition arrangements should apply when accommodation is reserved and paid for in advance of a local authority choosing to impose, or subsequently vary, a visitor levy for the period the accommodation is let?  

Please provide a reason (or reasons) for your answer:

Q31.  Should these transition arrangements be set out in a national framework or be decided by local authorities?

Tick one box:

Set out in a national framework

Decided by local authorities

Don’t know

Please provide a reason (or reasons) for your answer:

Our partial BRIA indicates that the main groups that will be affected by a visitor levy are:

  • Visitors (both domestic and international)
  • Tourism accommodation providers and their employees
  • Other tourism businesses and wider economy
  • Local residents and general public
  • Local Authorities

Q32: In addition to what is set out in our draft BRIA are you aware of any additional impacts the visitor levy will have for any of these groups? 

Please specify group and additional impact.

Q33: Are there any other groups not listed here that should be given attention in the impact assessments?  

Please list and state how they will be affected.


Contact

Email: TVLC@gov.scot