Normally I would post this only on my personal blog, but since not much has been posted on BRGs lately for various good reasons, I thought I'd post it here.
I was having breakfast awhile ago--while it was still raining hard all day every day -- when there was a knock at the door. It was the tax collector, over on the boat to inspect my hut and see what sort of tax I owed. Scotland is NOT like the US, and I asked if he would mind taking off his shoes (standard here) and he did, setting them neatly by the door before stepping inside. Then I offered him a cup of tea, which he accepted (also standard here).
Then he told me that I wouldn't owe any taxes at all -- there is no tax ever on "unimproved land" in Scotland, nor is there tax on properties producing less than £10,000 income (this is to protect small businesses in remote places especially), or worth less than a certain amount -- I forget how much.
This good news settled, he proceeded to ask me how much I had paid for my land, and marvel at the bargain I had got.
Scotland has many agreeable and unusal, to me, laws:
- there aren't any tresspassing laws -- anyone can walk anywhere, always
- if your dog chases someone else's sheep, the sheep owner can shoot the dog...though I've never heard of anyone doing this, and the one time someone was tempted, he remembered that the dog belonged to a bedridden little girl. When I exclaimed at this, he muttered, embarrassed, "I probably would have missed anyway -- I'm an awful shot." In my experience, the Scots are kind.
- if an ancestor of yours owned a now-derelict or empty building, and you live in it for a year, it's yours. This applies even to castles!