Taking Forward a Scottish Land and Buildings Transaction Tax Consultation: An Analysis of Responses

An analysis of responses received to the consultation on Taking Forward a Scottish Land and Buildings Transaction Tax Consultation.



2.1 This section provides an overview of the consultation responses received. It considers from whom the responses came, who was not represented in the responses and provides some general comments on the nature of the responses.

Who replied to the consultation?

Table 2.1: Distribution of responses to Taking forward a Scottish land and buildings transaction tax

Type Total received % of responses
Professional/representative/trade body 13 23
Private individual 13 23
Legal/accountancy/taxation organisations and their representative bodies 11 20
House builders/Developers/RSLS and their representative bodies 9 16
Voluntary organisation/Charity/Other private organisation 6 11
Local authorities and their representative bodies 4 7
Total 56 100

2.2 As table 2.1 shows, responses came from a broad spectrum of individuals, businesses and other organisations. The largest groups were professional / representative/ trade bodies and private individuals which each made up just under a quarter (23%) of respondents. There was also a significant proportion of legal, accountancy and taxation organisations (20% of total respondents) and house builders/ developers/ RSLs and their representative bodies (16% of total respondents) who responded. Responses from voluntary/charitable sectors and from local government were more limited in number (11% and 7% respectively). Within the private individuals and voluntary/charitable or other private organisations groups, the majority of respondents answered only one or two questions or replied by letter. Within all other groups most respondents answered most of the specific consultation questions.

2.3 The highest response rates (75% or more responding) were to the questions on tax structure, support of government priorities and exemptions and reliefs. Very few respondents commented on the draft impact assessments. The question on commercial leases attracted only 20 responses, although these were generally very detailed. All other questions had response rates of 50% or more.

2.4 In addition to written responses analysed, this consultation analysis covers four consultation events held by Scottish Government officials in July and August 2012 in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Perth. Topics covered at these events included the tax structure, exemptions and reliefs, commercial leases, avoidance and administration. Those attending included solicitors and their representatives, local authorities, landowners, developers and others in the property business.

Who was not represented in the responses?

2.5 While a significant number of individuals responded, most of these responses focused on the principle of the tax proposed or on technical aspects of the proposal. There was a low response from property owners on how the tax will affect them as individual buyers. The consultation instead relies on the comments of others (such as house-builders and the legal profession) to understand the potential impact on buyers. A possible explanation for the low response from individual property owners or aspiring owners may be because rates and thresholds are not yet known.

2.6 Individual small businesses (whether agricultural or property development) were largely absent, although their interests may have been well represented by other respondents. No organisations specifically representing equality groups responded.

The interpretation of quantitative and qualitative information

2.7 The analysis used both a quantitative and qualitative approach. A quantitative approach was used to demonstrate how strongly different elements of the proposals were supported or opposed. In many cases, respondents gave a narrative response to a particular question but did not specifically say 'yes' or 'no' to the question posed. In these cases, where the comment clearly implied agreement or disagreement with the proposal, we have assumed either 'yes' or 'no' for the quantitative analysis. Where the comment was non-committal in terms of agreement or was unclear, we have included the answer as 'other comments' for quantitative analysis purposes. Given the relatively small number of respondents, quantitative analysis figures should be treated with caution as they are not a reliable indication of the extent to which the views held by respondents is representative of their wider sector.

2.8 A qualitative approach has been the main focus of the analysis, based on what people said and any patterns in views. This qualitative approach has involved identifying the key themes and issues emerging from the consultation. The analysis has also explored the strength of views; particular areas of agreement and disagreement within and between respondent groupings; and the reasoning behind particular view points.


Email: Alix Rosenberg

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