Schedule 4A to the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (Scotland) Act 2013, as introduced by the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (First-Time Buyer Relief)(Scotland) Order 2018 , provides relief for first-time buyers of a dwelling in Scotland.

Description of relief

Subject to certain conditions, first-time buyer relief is available to any first-time buyers who acquire a dwelling which they intend to occupy as their only or main residence.

The relief only applies to transactions where the contract is entered into on or after 9 February 2018 and where the effective date of the transaction is on or after 30 June 2018.

The first-time buyer claims the relief at the point when they submit an LBTT return in relation to the land transaction, or in an amendment of that return.

Relief Conditions

Each of the following qualifying conditions must be met for the relief to be available:

  • the transaction is an acquisition of a major interest in land;
  • the land consists entirely of residential property and includes a dwelling;
  • the buyer is a first-time buyer who intends to occupy the dwelling as the buyer’s only or main residence;
  • the transaction is not a linked transaction (see exception to this rule in the ‘Linked transaction’ section of this guidance); and
  • the transaction is not one to which Additional Dwelling Supplement (“ADS”) applies (see LBTT10001).

Where there is more than one buyer the relief will be available only if each buyer meets all the relevant criteria. If any of the buyers do not meet all the conditions then the relief will not be available.

Amount of relief

The relief effectively raises the zero tax threshold for first-time buyers from £145,000 to £175,000. First-time buyers buying a property above £175,000 will also benefit from the relief on the portion of the price below the threshold. This means all first-time buyers will benefit from the relief by up to £600.

The table below sets out illustrative examples of the amount of tax which would be due for various transactions with and without the relief:

Purchase Price  Tax Due - With Relief     Tax Due - Without Relief​
£150,000  £0 £100
£175,000 £0 £600
£200,000  £500 £1,100
£250,000  £1,500 £2,100

The LBTT on Property Transactions calculator has been updated to assist first-time buyers and their agents in determining how much tax will be payable on their purchase after the relief has been claimed.

Worked examples for first-time buyer relief

Meaning of first-time buyer 

Note: Any references to ownership below are to properties both previously and currently owned, whether title was taken either individually, jointly or in common pro indiviso (i.e. where ownership of a dwelling is/was held by two or more parties in individual shares).

A first-time buyer means a person who does not own nor has previously owned a dwelling in Scotland, the rest of the UK or the rest of the world.

All forms of ownership in the legal systems of the rest of the UK which are equivalent to ownership in Scotland are treated as ownership for the purposes of this relief.

For instance, a dwelling for which an individual holds a tenant's interest under certain types of lease in the rest of the UK would count towards dwellings owned by an individual.

Additionally, the prevailing Scottish concepts regarding ownership apply across the foreign legal systems and must be read in accordance with the prevailing law and practice of the country in which the dwelling is situated when determining whether an individual owns a dwelling outside of Scotland. 

Gifted or inherited dwellings

Gifted or inherited dwellings are also taken into account when determining if an individual is a first-time buyer.

Worked examples for first-time buyer relief

LBTT(S)A 2013 schedule 4A paragraph 2

Trusts

The treatment of dwellings held in trust by trustees for the purposes of first-time buyer relief is similar to how the ADS applies to these type of transactions (see LBTT10063). This means that an individual who is or was a beneficiary under:

  • a bare trust (see LBTT8002), or
  • a settlement trust (see LBTT8003) where they have a relevant interest in the dwelling(s),

is treated for the purposes of first-time buyer relief as being or having been the owner of the dwelling(s).

A beneficiary under a settlement trust has or had a relevant interest in a dwelling that is or was part of the trust property if the beneficiary is or was entitled to:

  • occupy the dwelling for life, or
  • income (whether net or gross) in respect of the dwelling.

Relief will be available when a dwelling is purchased by a bare trust, or a settlement trust where the beneficiary will have relevant interest in a dwelling, if the beneficiary is a first-time buyer.

Worked examples for first-time buyer relief

LBTT(S)A 2013 schedule 4A paragraph 5

Trustees or personal representatives

If an individual owns a dwelling in their capacity as a trustee or personal representative of another (i.e. an executor) then that individual is not deemed to be the owner of that dwelling for the purposes of first-time buyer relief. 

LBTT(S)A 2013 schedule 4A paragraph 6

Occupying the dwelling as an only or main residence 

There should normally be little difficulty in determining if someone intends to occupy the dwelling as their only or main residence.

The buyer does not need to occupy the dwelling immediately upon purchase. For example, if structural repairs or renovation work are required then it may be that the buyer moves to temporary accommodation until they are complete. In such instances, there must be a clear intention to occupy the dwelling as the buyers only or main residence after the works are completed and consideration must be given to the full facts and circumstances of the case.

Relief cannot be claimed where evidence clearly shows that either another dwelling will continue to be the buyer’s main residence or that the newly purchased dwelling has been acquired for some other purpose (such as it being acquired using a buy-to-let mortgage).

Definitions of 'major interest', 'residential property' and 'dwelling' 

Major interest

References to ‘major interest’ in the LBTT(S)A 2013 are to:

  • ownership of land, or
  • the tenant’s right over or interest in land subject to a lease.

For the purposes of first-time buyer relief, major interest does not include the tenant’s interest in a private residential tenancy regulated by statute under the Rent (Scotland) Act 1984, the Housing (Scotland) Act 1988 or the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016.

LBTT(S)A 2013 section 60

LBTT(S)A 2013 schedule 4A paragraph 7(1)

Residential property

For the purposes of LBTT, a residential property is:

  • a building that is used or suitable for use as a dwelling, or is in the process of being constructed or adapted for use as a dwelling;
  • land that forms part of a garden or grounds of a building suitable for use as a dwelling. This includes any buildings or structures on such land; or
  • an interest in or right over land that subsists for the benefit of any of the above.

See LBTT4010 for further information on the meaning of residential property.​​

LBTT(S)A 2013 section 59

Dwelling

The multiple dwellings relief definition of ‘dwelling’ contained in part 6 of schedule 5 to the LBTT(S)A 2013 applies for the purposes of determining what counts as a dwelling for the purposes of first-time buyer relief.

See LBTT10018 for further information on the definition of a dwelling

LBTT(S)A 2013 schedule 5 part 6

Interaction with ADS 

If ADS is payable on the transaction first-time buyer relief is not available.

Worked examples for first-time buyer relief

LBTT(S)A 2013 schedule 4A paragraph 1(e)

Linked transactions 

First-time buyer relief is not available if the transaction is one of a number of linked transactions (see LBTT2008). However, this rule does not apply if the linked transaction is the acquisition of:

  • land that is, or is to be, occupied or enjoyed as the garden or grounds of the dwelling upon which relief was claimed; or
  • land that subsists, or is to subsist, for the benefit of that dwelling.

In such instances, first-time buyer relief will be available on the total consideration of all the linked transactions.

Worked examples for first-time buyer relief

LBTT(S)A 2013 schedule 4A paragraph 1(2)

Withdrawal of the relief - linked transactions 

First-time buyer relief is withdrawn if, following the relief being claimed, the transaction becomes linked by virtue of a later linked transaction.

Relief is not, however, withdrawn if the later linked transaction is the acquisition of:

  • land that is, or is to be, occupied or enjoyed as the garden or grounds of the dwelling upon which relief was claimed; or
  • land that subsists, or is to subsist, for the benefit of that dwelling.

Where relief is withdrawn, the taxpayer must make a further LBTT return to Revenue Scotland (see LBTT4015). There may also be a requirement to submit an LBTT return in respect of the later transaction.

LBTT(S)A 2013 schedule 4A paragraph 1(3)

LBTT(S)A 2013 section 34

Claiming the relief

To claim this relief see the guidance on 'How to make an LBTT return and pay tax’.

Last updated: 
29 June 2018
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