The second of three assembly bills paving the way for Wales to raise its own taxes for the first time in nearly 800 years has been published. The legislation will establish a land transaction tax, replacing stamp duty land tax in Wales from April 2018.
Welsh ministers are due to set the rates for the tax, raising around £250m a year, in the autumn of 2017. Legislation for landfill tax, which is being devolved at the same time, will be published by the end of the year.
The Welsh Government also intends the Land Transaction Tax and Anti-avoidance of Devolved Taxes Bill to send a signal that avoiding devolved taxes, to be collected by a new Welsh Revenue Authority, will not be acceptable.
Officials say the 220 page document is the longest piece of legislation Welsh ministers have produced. Following scrutiny by AMs, it is expected to receive Royal Assent in spring 2017. Legislation to allow the collection and management of the taxes was passed by the assembly in March.
Academics have warned of a budget shortfall if the Welsh taxes do not make up for the corresponding cuts to the annual grant, currently £15bn, that ministers in Cardiff receive from the UK Treasury.
Negotiations are due to begin during the autumn over how much the funding will fall as Wales raises more of its own income. There is also the prospect of income tax powers being partially devolved, but the Welsh and UK governments have yet to agree when.
Source: “Bill for Welsh property tax replacing stamp duty published”, BBC News, 12/09/16.