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Opening the query lines

1 January 04

Update from the Registers on stamp duty land tax; market research; house price trends and an online information service

by Keeper's office

Stamp duty land tax: FAQs

Following the advent of stamp duty land tax on 1 December 2003 we have received a number of enquiries on various registration aspects of the new tax. Our website www.ros.gov.uk/solicitor/faqs.html contains a list of the questions most frequently put to us on stamp duty land tax along with our response. The website www.ros.gov.uk/updates also contains a copy of the recent Registers Update on stamp duty land tax which sets out the registration requirements imposed by the Finance Act 2003.

You are asked to note that a copy of the self-certificate (SDLT60) can be accessed on the Agency’s website. We do not hold copies of the land transaction return or the supplementary returns. These can only be obtained from the Stamp Taxes Orderline on 0845 3021472.

Contact: john.king@ros.gov.uk

Market research

Our annual telephone survey of 500 solicitors is scheduled to take place during January and February. The survey will be conducted by Scotinform Ltd, an independent market research company based in Edinburgh.

We know from previous surveys that there is a high level of satisfaction with our overall performance. However, these surveys also highlighted some ongoing concerns about speed of response and accuracy. In response to this feedback, we are currently introducing more robust quality controls into the registration process and also looking at ways in which we can work more closely with the profession on this important aspect of our service.

The information you provide is therefore vital as it enables us to identify the key aspects of our performance and services that require further development in future. Should you be contacted by Scotinform to take part in the survey, your co-operation would be greatly appreciated. Upon completion of the survey, we will prepare an action plan based upon its findings and keep you informed of our progress.

Contact: alan.malone@ros.gov.uk

House price trends

We continued the publication of our Residential Sales Distribution quarterly statistical series with the latest on 3 December at www.ros.gov.uk/businesscustomers/lpd.html. The quarterly report provides analysis of the average residential house prices in Scotland and the total value of the housing market for seven geographic regions of the country.

We are hoping that these data will help meet the needs of property professionals in Scotland for accurate, comprehensive house price information. Detailed tailored reports can also be made available.

Contact: richard.greig@ros.gov.uk

Scotland’s House Prices

On 1 November, we launched www.scotlandshouseprices.gov.uk. It is a new service enabling anyone with an internet connection to search for house prices across Scotland. Information can be obtained simply by entering a postcode and viewing the addresses of all properties registered within a specific county over a particular six month period. The selling prices of the properties are then displayed following confirmation of a credit or debit card payment.

Scotland’s House Prices is the latest development in our strategy to make more services and information available online. Part of the strategy is to engage with the profession in order to discuss our plans and seek feedback on the future of registration within an electronic environment. We will do this by running seminars and focus groups around the country. These meetings will be supported by Registers Updates and information on our website.

Contact: alan.malone@ros.gov.uk