On 1 April 2015 Revenue Scotland introduced the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) as a replacement for Stamp Duty Land Tax in Scotland.
For many years prior, Scottish law firms have been using their case management software and /or other software to make the completion of SDLT returns easy, efficient and accurate. Third-party vendors (TPV) as they are known, are the linkage between HMRC and law firms. Revenue Scotland has taken a different approach to HMRC and is NOT encouraging any type of easy, efficient or accurate completing of LBTT via software. You are expected to re-enter it all.
TPVs were given literally a few weeks to develop a solution for their Scottish customers. The technical documentation provided by Revenue Scotland was insufficient to the task and is still not ideal with omissions and inconsistencies.
Revenue Scotland issued a statement 23rd April 2015, saying they “cannot currently provide support for software developers to give their customers” an LBTT solution which will allow them to make full use of their case management systems. This is a major backwards step and means that for you, Scottish conveyancing firms, the information on LBTT forms will need to be entered twice if not several times. Such integration typically would be part of a third-party LBTT solution and by disallowing vital support, Scottish property practices are now at a disadvantage with LBTT compared to when they were using SDLT.
Revenue Scotland have said:
• They will not review, correct or assess any submissions provided by Commercial Software Providers. Without this service third-party vendors will be unable to provide a fully-tested product to their customers and the quality of LBTT submissions will suffer.
• They will not provide a dedicated phone number or email support for queries. HMRC have a very knowledgeable software support team who provided invaluable assistance for the development of stamp tax solutions, and it is inconceivable that an LBTT equivalent can be developed without such a service.
• They will not provide pre-release information to Commercial Software Providers for any future changes. It is essential that third-party vendors are given advance notice of changes to the system so that they can modify and test their products prior to the changes being released, otherwise their customers are at an immediate disadvantage on the day the changes go live.
Thus the only opportunity to request change towards allowing Scottish conveyancers to be efficient and competitive in their property transactions is to have an overwhelming demand for a change of attitude by Revenue Scotland towards commercial software vendors as a whole.
We at SDLT.co.uk have taken it upon ourselves to ask you to sign this petition and forward this to all your colleagues asking them to sign as well, so we can lodge the results with Law Society Scotland, Revenue Scotland and others that you might suggest, and get change for everyone to a more reasoned position. Revenue Scotland don’t ignore software suppliers like Sage Accounting et al so why ignore property software suppliers and you the conveyancers?
We, the undersigned, call on Revenue Scotland to provide third-party vendors with improved support in the development of LBTT applications, including but not limited to a dedicated technical contact, reviewing of test submissions and access to pre-release information, in order that we may be efficient once again in helping our clients meet their tax obligations.
The Urge Revenue Scotland to provide support for third-party LBTT developers petition to Revenue Scotland was written by SDLT.co.uk and is in the category Science & Technology at GoPetition.