Proposals to establish Revenue Scotland as a Scottish equivalent of HMRC were highlighted today with the publication of a call for evidence by the Scottish Parliament’s Finance Committee on the Revenue Scotland and Tax Powers Bill.
The Revenue Scotland and Tax Powers Bill is the third of three Bills resulting from the Scotland Act 2012. The two other Bills are the Land and Buildings Transition Tax (LBTT) and a Scottish Landfill Tax (SLT).
The Revenue Scotland and Tax Powers Bill will make provision for a Scottish tax system to enable collection and management of devolved taxes including LBTT and SLT. It will also formally establish Revenue Scotland as the tax authority with responsibility for the collection and management of the taxes as from 1 April 2015.
The Bill includes a Scottish General Anti-Avoidance Rule (GAAR) which gives Revenue Scotland powers to deal with artificial tax avoidance schemes. The Scottish Government has indicated that it intends the GAAR to be more rigorous and have wider criteria in determining tax avoidance than the equivalent UK rule. The Bill also includes provisions for Scottish tax tribunals, self-assessment and enforcement.
Finance Committee Convener Kenneth Gibson MSP said:
“This Bill is probably the most important piece of legislation we will look at this parliamentary session because it provides the framework for ensuring that devolved taxes are collected efficiently and effectively.
“We hope that everyone from the tax-paying public to tax and legal professionals to business leaders and academics will all feed in their views on the proposals for Revenue Scotland.
“We 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 Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (Scotland) Bill received royal assent in summer 2013 and the Stage 3 debate on the Landfill Tax (Scotland) Bill will take place on 17 December.
The Finance Committee has appointed Professor Gavin McEwan from the University of Aberdeen, to advise it on the Revenue Scotland and Tax Powers Bill. The Committee will hear from a number of witnesses throughout February and March, including Sir James Mirrlees on 5 February. The Scottish economist led The Mirrlees Review, a review of the UK tax system by the Institute for Fiscal Studies. Leading economist Professor John Kay will also give evidence to the Committee on 26 February.
The link to the call for evidence can be found here:
Finance Committee web pages
The closing date for submissions is Wednesday 19 February.