Scottish Parliament - Holyrood’s Local Government and Communities Committee is set to explore the impact of a Bill which aims to reform non-domestic rates in Scotland.

Also known as business rates, non-domestic rates are levied on business properties with monies raised used to fund local services. The Bill is the first of its kind to propose wide scale changes to the current system in Scotland.

The Committee is now asking for views on the various proposals in the Bill, including mainstream independent schools no longer being able to claim charitable relief. The Bill also aims to address what the Scottish Government describes as a known tax avoidance tactic involving unoccupied or under-used properties.

The Bill was introduced in the Scottish Parliament on 25 March 2019 and follows the Barclay review which made a series of recommendations seeking to enhance and reform non-domestic rates in Scotland.

Committee Convener James Dornan MSP said: 

"Non-domestic rates are the second highest revenue raising tax in Scotland and these reforms could affect a great number of people. 
“We are keen to hear the views of potentially affected organisations and members of the public about the proposed changes to the system, and whether the Government has addressed the issues raised in the Barclay review.

“We also want to know if people think anything else should be included in this Bill or if more radical reform of the system is needed. We look forward to hearing what the public has to say and using the evidence to ensure our inquiry is as robust as possible.” 
The Committee is seeking views on several proposals in the Bill. These include: 

• tax relief reforms for new or improved properties, intended to encourage development and investment in business properties. 
• revaluation of properties subject to non-domestic rates being carried out every 3 years rather than every 5 years. 
• a measure intended to address a perceived “loophole” that enables owners of holiday homes to avoid both council tax and non-domestic rates by making it more difficult to enter a home on the roll. 
• clarification as to when sports clubs should be allowed rates relief. 
• an alteration to enable councils to initiate debt recovery proceedings for unpaid rates sooner.

You can have your say on the Bill on the Committee’s webpage.

The call for written views will close on 30 May 2019.

Background


The Bill was introduced in the Scottish Parliament on 25 March 2019 by the Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Economy and Fair Work. The Bill and accompanying documents can be found here.

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Source: Scottish Parliament

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