*UPDATE: The Bill will soon begin its Stage 3 process, following amendment at Stage 2. Amendments include fines for non-compliance and that business rates be set by local authorities. The Scottish Fiscal Commission has published supplementary costings to the Bill.*
The Non-Domestic Rates (Scotland) Bill was introduced by the Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Economy and Fair Work, Derek Mackay MSP, on 25 March 2019.
The Local Government and Communities Committee launched a call for written evidence on Tuesday 9 April 2019 as part of its Stage 1 scrutiny of the Bill.
As reported previously by CTG (more detail here) the Bill makes provision for changes to charity rate relief – mainstream independent schools will no longer be eligible to apply for mandatory charitable rate relief. However, independent special schools and specialist independent music schools will not be affected by this change.
CTG responded to the call for evidence jointly with the Charities’ Property Association (CPA). We are grateful to Nicola Evans, Charities Counsel at BDB Pitmans, for her input.
The response highlighted concerns that removal of rates relief for mainstream independent schools in Scotland risks the creation of a two-tier status for charities with tax reliefs applicable only to the most “deserving charities”.