Annual Summary of Trends in the Devolved Taxes 2019-20

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Revenue Scotland has today published its ‘Annual Summary of Trends in the Devolved Taxes 2019-20’. This comprehensive report gives an insight into the performance trends of Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) and Scottish Landfill Tax (SLfT) since tax operations began in April 2015.

Key points from the publication highlight that:

  • Residential house sales accounted for £424 million, or 68 percent of the £619 million in LBTT declared due in Scotland in 2019-20;
  • Non-residential sales accounted for £174 million, or 28 percent, while leases accounted for £20 million, or 3 percent;
  • On disposals of waste to landfill, the report highlighted that Standard rate disposals for SLfT continue to fall, down 19 percent from 2018-19.

Ten local authority areas showed a consistent year on year increase in residential transactions from 2016/17 to 2019/20. The largest absolute increase was in South Lanarkshire where 1,200 more returns were received in 2019/20 compared to 2015/16 (an increase of 20 percent) and returns have increased every year. The largest percentage change was in East Lothian where the number of residential transactions has increased by 26 percent (around 500 more transactions) since April 2015.

The City of Edinburgh remains the largest contributor of residential Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) in 2019/20 with 34 percent of the total residential LBTT revenues (excluding the Additional Dwelling Supplement). Glasgow City is the second largest contributor with 7 percent of the total, although both local authority regions have similar numbers of residential transactions (around 12,000).

Revenue Scotland Chief Executive Elaine Lorimer highlighted the importance of regular and routine publication of official statistics in being able to provide an accurate and objective overview of longer term trends in Scotland’s devolved taxes.

She said: “This is Revenue Scotland’s third annual statistics publication and the detailed insights into longer-term LBTT and SLfT performance will be of interest to a wide range of people and organisations including individual taxpayers and agents, accountancy and property firms, environmental organisations, government and local authorities.”

The ‘Annual Summary of Trends in the Devolved Taxes 2019-20’ covers the period from 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2020 so trends described in this publication will not show the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Impacts on the devolved taxes collected during 2020 are described in our monthly LBTT and quarterly SLfT statistics publications, all available on the Revenue Scotland website


Notes to Editors

As a Non-Ministerial Office, Revenue Scotland is part of the Scottish Administration and is directly accountable to the Scottish Parliament to ensure the administration of tax is independent, fair and impartial.

The purpose of Revenue Scotland is to efficiently and effectively collect and manage the devolved taxes - currently Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) and Scottish Landfill Tax (SLfT) - which fund public services for the benefit of the people of Scotland.

Revenue Scotland’s vision is to be a recognised leader in the delivery of tax administration, and as experts in our field; adaptable to change; resilient to challenges and far reaching in our engagement.

The tax authority operates according to Adam Smith’s principles of taxation to ensure equity, certainty, convenience and efficiency in administering and managing devolved taxes.

The four principles:

  • Equity – proportionality to the ability of a taxpayer to pay;
  • Certainty – maximising tax compliance, minimising tax avoidance and evasion;
  • Convenience – ensuring tax systems and processes are open and accessible;
  • Efficiency – ensuring tax systems are efficient and effective and represent value for money for Scotland.

The full report is available along with supporting material to download from the Revenue Scotland website.

It includes an appendix detailing how the numbers in the statistics publication relate to the accounting figures reported in Revenue Scotland’s Annual Report and Financial Statements.