Additional Dwelling Supplement - Latest News

Solicitor and award-winning consumer journalist Jane Barrie reveals a lifeline for buyers reclaiming Additional Dwelling Supplement but questions whether new legislation goes far enough to bolster a property market in crisis.

The Scottish Government has agreed to double the time period available to home owners trying to reclaim Additional Dwelling Supplement.

We told how Revenue Scotland would only consider refunds of the steep extra tax on purchases if you disposed of your previous main residence within 18 months.

Now new legislation – the Coronavirus (Scotland) (No.2) Act 2020 - which received Royal Assent yesterday (May 26) increases the period to 36 months but crucially only for buyers who bought a new main residence before March 25.

Revenue Scotland said: “Developments related to the COVID-19 pandemic have impacted the housing market.

“Where sales have been agreed, the temporary closure of the Applications Record by Registers of Scotland and the Scottish Government guidance urging buyers not to move whilst stay at home measures are in place, may have resulted in some transactions falling out with the 18 month period for disposing of the ownership of a previous only or main residence, or of such sales falling through completely.

“A buyer who meets all the eligibility criteria can claim repayment of ADS.

“If the purchase of their new main residence has an effective date of between 24 September 2018 and 24 March 2020, they have 36 months to sell their previous main residence.

“In all other cases, the time limit for disposing of their previous main residence is 18 months, starting on the day after the effective date of the purchase of the new main residence.”

It's a step in the right direction but clearly doesn't help those buyers who are committed to purchasing, are still in lockdown limbo... but have an effective date falling on or after March 25.

But it's hoped the Scottish Government’s COVID-19 Route Map published on May 21, which outlines a phased approach to the easing of lockdown measures, will bring much-needed confidence back to the property market.

The first phase, set to begin tomorrow (May 28) includes “preparing for the safe reopening of the housing market” with further details still to be released.

But Paul Hilton, chief executive of ESPC, the country's largest property marketing company, said: “Life under lockdown has been very different for most of us.

“Even as restrictions are eased, public health and safety is of the utmost importance and it is likely property market activity in Scotland won’t go exactly back to the way it was.

“Our agents have adapted well in recent weeks, using technology to continue providing key services to buyers and sellers during lockdown.

“We expect virtual viewing and valuations to remain a part of services provided by agents in Scotland, even as lockdown restrictions are eased.

“In order to get the Scottish property market moving again, we need to establish safe procedures for how things like physical viewings and house moves can be done while practising social distancing.”

*ADS is a supplement on purchases of additional residential properties in Scotland, such as buy-to-let and second homes costing £40,000 or more.

It kicks in if you haven't yet sold your existing main residence, but can usually be reclaimed within 18 months (of the day after the “effective date” of the purchase) if you do sell. In the majority of cases the “effective date” is the date of settlement.

The changes included in Schedule 4, Part 4 of the new Act double that period to 36 months.

ADS is charged at four per cent of the property's purchase price and is in addition to Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT).

On a £300,000 property, for example, the LBTT is £4600 and there's a £12,000 ADS bringing the total tax payable to £16,600.

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