From April 2018, Land Transaction Tax (LTT) has replaced UK Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) in Wales. Like SDLT, LTT is payable when someone buys or leases a building or land over a certain price. The incoming legislation is broadly consistent with SDLT, preserving the underlying structure and mirroring key elements such as partnerships, trusts and reliefs, to provide stability and reassurance to businesses and the property market. According to the Welsh Government’s website, changes have been made to simplify the tax and make it fairer, improve its efficiency and effectiveness and to focus on Welsh needs and priorities.
The WRA has issued its LTT return form. On 3rd April the WRA gave permission to easy convey to reproduce this form. Although the form is predominantly for use by private individuals, firms can fill in and submit this form if they have not registered to use the WRA portal. This form will be available to users of easy convey’s CASA software, which will merge the information from its database for submission by the client in paper form or help in inputting into the WRA LTT site.
Tom Durbin St George, easy convey managing director, commented “We are looking forward to working closely with the Welsh Revenue Authority to produce a seamless electronic submission of LTT through our software.”
A meeting was held between interested software suppliers and the WRA on the 27th March 2018. Grant Gardiner, software development manager attended for easy convey (suppliers of CASA conveyancing software).
At this meeting the WRA confirmed that there had been no development work carried out on an external API (application programme interface, which would allow the electronic submission of returns from easy convey’s conveyancing software). The WRA is at the end of its “discovery phase” and together with its present supplier of the LTT system is putting a case forward for electronic integration. A WRA spokesperson said: “If the [API] project does go ahead and there is no certainty that it will, it is extremely unlikely that anything will be ready before 2019”.
It was confirmed that 800 firms had registered on the WRA site with an average of two users per firm. HMRC reported that out of 1.4 million transactions per year in England and Wales approximately 50 to 60,000 are in Wales. The WRA believes it will receive 80% of submissions through its own site and 20% via printed returns through the post. The WRA could not confirm how many staff it had available to input the data from printed forms into their system but did say that the organisation presently has 55 staff in total. This volume of forms equates to 40 a day being inputted with up to 239 fields per form, so will the WRA be able to ensure a 30-day turn around?
HMRC figures show approximately 100,000 (7%) of SDLT submissions are amended due to data entry errors in names thus causing the certificate to be rejected by HMLR. The WRA said its help desk would deal with these however, with duplicate data entry this percentage can only increase.