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Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (Amendment) (Scotland) Act 2016

Paragraph 6 of schedule 2A – Spouses, civil partners, cohabitants and children

40.Amongst other things, paragraph 6 ensures that spouses (including same-sex spouses) are not treated differently according to how the titles for the couple’s property or properties are registered. For the purposes of paragraph 2 of schedule 2A, the same tax position will arise whether a first or second property is registered in one spouse’s name, in the other spouse’s, or jointly. Dwellings in the name of one spouse will count against the other for the purpose of determining whether the other partner owns more than one dwelling. Sub-paragraphs (2) and (3) disapply this rule where the couple have separated. Separation in this context does not require to be formal separation, of the types referenced in paragraphs 4 and 5 of schedule 1 to the 2013 Act, but such formal separation would be relevant evidence of practical separation.

41.Paragraph 6 treats civil partners in the same way as spouses and the same tax treatment is also afforded to cohabitants who are defined as persons living together as though married (and therefore this will include same-sex cohabitants). This is consistent with the approach taken in the Family Law (Scotland) Act 2006 and other Acts of the Scottish Parliament.

42.Further, paragraph 6 brings into consideration children of the buyer (or their partner) who are aged under 16 (the age of legal capacity in Scots law). This is to reflect that such a child’s ownership of residential property is practically the responsibility of their parent(s), and as an anti-avoidance measure to disincentivise avoidance of the additional tax by artificially registering title in such a child’s name.

43.Interpretative provisions of the 2013 Act relevant to paragraph 6—

“buyer”section 7
“dwelling”Part 6 of schedule 5
what counts as a dwelling ownedPart 6 of schedule 2A.

44.In Scots law, reference to a person’s “child” includes reference to an adopted child by virtue of section 40 of the Adoption and Children (Scotland) Act 2007, and includes situations where parentage is determined by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008. Marriages (including same-sex marriages) celebrated outside Scotland have equivalent legal status to Scottish marriages by virtue of section 38 of the Family Law (Scotland) Act 2006 (see also sections 212 to 218 of the Civil Partnership Act 2004 for the status of same-sex civil partnerships from outside the UK).

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