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Holyrood Consults On Revenue Scotland

by Amanda Banks,, London

26 December 2013

The Scottish Parliament's Finance Committee is asking for opinions about the Revenue Scotland and Tax Powers Bill, which provides the framework for the management and collection of devolved taxes in Scotland from March 2015.

Finance Committee Convener Kenneth Gibson MSP said that the Committee was interested in hearing the views of everyone, including tax-payers, tax and legal professionals, business leaders and academics. He further explained that the Committee "particularly want to hear views on whether this Bill reflects Adam Smith's four maxims with regard to taxes: certainty, convenience, efficiency and proportionate to the ability to pay."

The Committee's Call for Evidence includes various points for consideration. These are: the proposed approach to the establishment and constitution of Revenue Scotland as a non-Ministerial Department and its membership; the functions, independence and investigatory powers of Revenue Scotland; the General Anti-Avoidance Rule; the proposed approach to tax returns, enquiries and assessments, to penalties, to interest on payments, to enforcement, and to reviews and appeals; and the financial implications of the Bill as estimated in the Financial Memorandum (FM).

The deadline for submissions is February 19, 2014.

The Committee is also hearing oral evidence, including from economists Sir James Mirrlees on February 5, 2014, and Professor John Kay on February 26. Mirrlees led the Mirrlees Review, which was a review of the UK tax system by the Institute for Fiscal Studies. The Committee is also taking advice on the Bill from Professor Gavin McEwan of the University of Aberdeen.

Gibson described the Bill as "probably the most important piece of legislation we will look at this parliamentary session."

Revenue Scotland will be tasked with administering Scotland's Land and Buildings Transaction Tax, which is due to replace Stamp Duty Land Tax, and a Landfill Tax. However, although Scotland is to be given the power to set its own Income Tax rate, this tax will continue to be collected by HM Revenue and Customs in London. Should Scotland vote for independence in September 2014, Revenue Scotland would eventually be responsible for all taxes in Scotland, following a transitional period.

TAGS: tax | tax avoidance | United Kingdom | tax authority | legislation | stamp duty | HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) | tax reform | penalties | HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) | individual income tax

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