The Scottish Government has passed the Visitor Levy (Scotland) Bill. This Bill will give councils the power to introduce a local tax on visitors to their area, from 2026.

Scottish flag

Under the Visitor Levy, which cannot come into force until spring 2026 at the earliest, councils will have the power to apply a levy on overnight stays in accommodation such as hotels, B&Bs and Holiday lets.

  • The money raised by local authorities will be ringfenced for reinvestment in services and facilities largely used by tourists and business visitors. 

People in receipt of disability benefits from the UK or Scottish Governments will be exempt from paying the levy.

Councils wishing to introduce the levy must:

  • Consult with local communities, businesses and tourism organisations. This is followed by an 18-month implementation period, to provide adequate time for councils and businesses to establish the systems needed to collect and administer the levy.
  • Establish a 'visitor levy forum' to discuss and advise the council on matters related to a levy in its area.

The Scottish Government is required to review the Visitor Levy Bill within three years of the date of the first scheme coming into effect.

Scottish Ministers will have the power to cap the number of nights to which the Visitor Levy could apply, subject to consultation.

Representatives from the tourism industry, the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities and other partners will work together to produce guidance for local authorities when introducing the levy scheme.

Useful guides on this topic

Furnished Holiday Letting
What is Furnished Holiday Letting? How do you qualify for Furnished Holiday Letting? What are the rules for Furnished Holiday Letting?

Scottish Income Tax
From 6 April 2016, Scotland sets its own Income Tax rates. What is the rate of Scottish Income Tax? What implications does it have?

Scottish Income Tax: Am I a Scottish taxpayer?
Who does Scottish Income Tax apply to? Am I resident in Scotland? What constitutes a residence and the 'main' residence?

LBTT: Land and Buildings Transaction Tax
What is Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT)? What are the rules?

External link

Scottish Government: Visitor Levy Bill passed