Devolved taxes and varied tax rates—Scotland
Devolved taxes and varied tax rates—Scotland

The following Private Client guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Devolved taxes and varied tax rates—Scotland
  • Land and buildings transaction tax
  • General anti-avoidance rule (Scottish GAAR)
  • Income tax

Devolution is the process of pushing down decision-making to lower levels within the nation-state. Specifically, it refers to the process of giving the smaller nations within the UK their own parliamentary and governmental structures. This Practice Note summarises in brief terms, the taxes which have been devolved to or which are variable by Scotland’s own law-making body, the Scottish Parliament and which may affect individuals.

The Scotland Act 1998 (SA 1998) created a Scottish Parliament of 129 members (MSPs), elected on an 'additional member' system of proportional representation. The first election was held in May 1999 and the new Parliament acquired primary legislative powers on 1 July 1999.

A devolved tax is a tax specified as such by SA 1998, Pt 4A. The devolved taxes are:

  1. land and buildings transaction tax (LBTT) (see LBTT below)

  2. Scottish landfill tax (not covered further in this Practice Note)

  3. air passenger duty from April 2018 (not covered further in this Practice Note)

  4. the aggregates levy, once the power to devolve it is exercised (not covered further in this Practice Note)

SA 1998 also gave the Scottish Parliament power to vary income tax to a limited extent (a power enhanced by the Scotland Act 2012). Therefore, the Scottish rate of income tax is not a devolved tax but the Scottish Parliament does have power to vary income tax rates

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