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Murray Beith Murray is a leading Scottish private client law firm.

For over 170 years we have specialised in meeting the legal, financial and administrative needs of individuals and families, family trusts, charities and private companies.

Commercial Tenants’ duty to submit Three Yearly Tax Returns

billlFrom 1 April 2015 the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (“LBTT”) regime came into effect imposing a duty on commercial tenants to submit a return every three years. The first cycle of these three yearly returns arose in April 2018, and significant penalties can be incurred for late submission or failure to submit.

What is the Three Yearly Return?

A return must be submitted to Revenue Scotland on the third anniversary of the effective date of the lease which is usually the date of entry (the “filing date”). This return must take into account any LBTT that has become payable on account of changes to a lease, such as the rent or duration, since the last return was made.

Does this apply to all commercial leases?

If the original lease was entered into under the old Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) regime then there is no obligation to submit a three-yearly return. It will only affect new leases entered into from 1 April 2015. If you are unsure whether your lease is under the old SDLT or the new LBTT regime it would be prudent to check to avoid incurring any penalties.

Assigned or Surrendered Leases

A separate LBTT return must be made within 30 days of the assignation or surrender of a lease, and this is in addition to the three-yearly return. Upon assignation, the assignee inherits all of the assignor’s responsibilities to pay LBTT and to submit the relevant returns. Therefore, it is crucial that incoming tenants check that the outgoing tenants have complied with their LBTT obligations and make themselves aware of any assumed reporting responsibilities.

Penalties

If the return is not submitted within 30 days of the filing date fixed penalties will start to accrue, and this can be expensive. Within a year of the filing date as much as £1,600 could be payable in penalties.

What you need to do

Review current lease paperwork, diarise well in advance of the filing date and take professional advice if necessary to make sure the correct tax is paid so as to avoid any penalties.

Specialist Commercial Property Lawyers, Edinburgh

At Murray Beith Murray our commercial property group has extensive experience dealing with LBTT returns and would be happy to guide you through the review process. Please don’t hesitate to get in contact at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 0131 225 1200 , about this, or any other commercial property matter.

Scottish Budget 2019/20
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