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    Scotland exempts reverse vending machines from business rates in DRS push

    Photo: iStock

    The Scottish government has unveiled new draft legislation on business rates which aims to promote the Deposit Return Scheme (DRS).

    As per the Non-Domestic Rating (Valuation of Sites of Reverse Vending Machines) (Scotland) Regulations 2023, laid before the Scottish Parliament, parts of properties solely used to house reverse vending machines, which refund users for recycling drinks containers, would be exempt from the business rates.

    The government said this will support businesses to get ready for the DRS, which will launch on 16 August 2023.

    The legislation also looks to tackle tax avoidance by empowering councils to crack down on practices such as the artificial use of insolvency, leasing arrangements or shell companies.

    They would also make owners of non-domestic properties liable for payment, rather than the property’s occupiers, and allow for liability for payment to be backdated if an offence is repeated within a five-year period.

    “We want to ensure that parts of properties used for reverse vending machines are not liable to pay rates. This will incentivise and promote Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme which will launch on 16 August this year,” Public Finance Minister Tom Arthur said.

    “It is important that everyone pays their share and these regulations will help tackle those who seek to find loopholes to avoid payment,” the minister added.

    The government said further amendments to the business rates, announced in the Scottish Budget 2023-24, will be published shortly as part of a package of regulations to provide more help for businesses through the current cost of living crisis.

    The Scottish Budget 2023-24 announced the lowest poundage in the UK for the fifth year in a row and a package of reliefs worth an estimated £744 million.

    These new regulations should come into force in Scotland on 1 April.

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