Scottish Budget 2018 – our detailed analysis

Posted on December 17, 2018 by Wylie & Bisset

Finance Secretary Derek Mackay delivered the 2019/20 Scottish Draft Budget on Wednesday 12 December 2018 setting out the Scottish Government’s financial and tax plans. Here we look at the highlights of the Scottish Government’s announcements regarding income tax, Land and Buildings Transaction Tax, Air Departure Tax and VAT.

 Scottish Income tax

The current rates and bands for 2018/19 and the proposed rates and bands for 2019/20 on nonsavings and non-dividend income are as follows:

Scottish Bands 2018/19 Scottish Bands 2019/20 Rate Scottish Rates
Over £11,850* – £13,850 Over £12,500* – £14,549 Starter 19%


Over £13,850 – £24,000 Over £14,549 – £24,944 Scottish Basic 20%


Over £24,000 – £43,430 Over £24,944 – £43,430 Intermediate 21%


Over £43,430 – £150,000** Over £43,430 – £150,000** Higher 41%


Over £150,000** Over £150,000 Top 46%


* assuming the individual is entitled to a full UK personal allowance

** the personal allowance will be reduced if an individual’s adjusted net income is above £100,000.

The allowance is reduced by £1 for every £2 of income over £100,000.

The personal allowance is currently £11,850 for 2018/19. The personal allowance for 2019/20 will be £12,500.

The UK higher rate tax point for 2019/20 is set at £50,000 (for those entitled to the full UK personal allowance) and the tax rates for non-savings and non-dividend income have been maintained at 20%, 40% and 45% respectively. The additional rate of 45% is payable on income over £150,000.

For 2019/20 Scottish taxpayers with employment income of approximately £27,000 will pay the same amount of income tax as those with similar income in the rest of the UK. For higher earners, with pay of £150,000, a Scottish taxpayer will pay approximately an extra £2,670 of income tax than those on similar income in the rest of the UK.

 Scottish resident

Following the introduction of separate Scottish income tax rates and bands, it has been necessary to define and identify a Scottish taxpayer. A Scottish taxpayer is someone who is UK resident for tax purposes and has one place of residence which is in Scotland.

Individuals who have more than one place of residence in the UK need to determine which of these has been their main place of residence for the longest period in a tax year. Individuals who cannot identify a main place of residence will need to count the days they spend in Scotland and elsewhere in the UK. If they spend more days in Scotland, they will be a Scottish taxpayer.


Employers should be aware that if an employee is classed as a Scottish taxpayer then a special PAYE code (S) will apply and this will be notified to employers and pension providers by HMRC where appropriate.

An employer does not have to make any assessments on taxpayer status. Employers should not change a tax code unless advised to do so by HMRC. Employers of Scottish taxpayers will need to ensure their payroll software has the capability to deal with S codes.

It is important that employers remind their employees of the importance of keeping HMRC informed of their correct address details as this information is crucial in determining whether or not they are a Scottish taxpayer. Taxpayers can check and update their address details through their online Personal Tax Account. For those individuals who have not yet used their account they can register at

 Land and Buildings Transaction Tax changes

The Government’s stated policy priority for residential Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) remains to help first-time buyers and to assist people as they progress through the property market. Since its introduction, this policy has ensured that over 80% of taxpayers benefit from LBTT by paying either no tax or less tax than in England. The current rates and bands are as follows:

Residential property Rate


£0 – £145,000 0%


£145,001 – £250,000 2%
£250,001 – £325,000


£325,001 – £750,000 10%


£750,001 and over 12%


The rates apply to the portion of the total value which falls within each band.

 First-time buyer relief

A relief applies for first-time buyers of properties up to £175,000. The relief raises the zero tax threshold for first-time buyers from £145,000 to £175,000. First-time buyers purchasing a property above £175,000 also benefit from the relief on the portion of the price below the threshold.

 Higher rates for additional residential properties

Higher rates of LBTT are charged on purchases of additional residential properties, such as buy to let properties and second homes. Although these are the main targets of the higher rates, some other purchasers may have to pay the higher rates.

The Additional Dwelling Supplement (ADS) potentially applies if, at the end of the day of the purchase transaction, the individual owns two or more residential properties. Care is needed if an individual already owns, or partly owns, a property and transacts to purchase another property without having disposed of the first property. An 18 month rule helps to remove some transactions from the additional rates (or allows a refund).

The Government announced an increase in the ADS from 3% to 4%. If approved by the Scottish Parliament, the rate change will come into force from 25 January 2019, but will not apply if the contract for a transaction was entered into prior to 12 December 2018. Existing arrangements allowing for the supplement to be reclaimed will continue.

 Changes for non-residential rates and bands

The Government will reduce the lower rate of non-residential LBTT from 3% to 1%, increase the upper rate from 4.5% to 5% and reduce the starting threshold of the upper rate from £350,000 to £250,000. These changes are expected to come into force from 25 January 2019 but will not apply if the contract for a transaction was entered into prior to 12 December 2018.

The proposed rates and band for non-residential LBTT transactions are as follows:


Non-residential transactions Purchase price



Rate Non-residential leases

Net present value of rent payable




Up to £150,000 0% Up to £150,000 0%


£150,001 to £250,000 1% Over £150,000 1%


Over £250,000 5%



 VAT assignment

The first 10 pence of the Standard Rate of VAT, and 2.5 pence of the Reduced Rate of VAT will be assigned to the Government. The draft model for calculating Scottish VAT receipts has been published and finalising the model will be discussed through the Joint Exchequer Committee in Spring 2019.

The Government will continue to monitor the methodology in advance of a final agreement.

If you would like further details on how the Scottish Budget will affect you please contact us.