Historic tax bill passed by MSPs


20 August 2014

The Revenue Scotland and Tax Powers Bill passes its third and final stage in the Scottish Parliament.

A bill which will provide Scotland with its first tax collection system in 300 years has been passed by the Scottish Parliament.

The Revenue Scotland and Tax Powers Bill establishes Revenue Scotland as a new body responsible for collecting and managing devolved taxes and was approved by the Holyrood parliament on Tuesday (19 August).

Taxes on transfers of land and on disposals to landfill are being devolved, so stamp duty land tax will cease to have effect in Scotland and will be replaced by Land and Buildings Transaction Tax from 1 April 2015. The UK landfill tax will be replaced by Scottish Landfill Tax, again with effect from 1 April 2015.

This Bill is a consequence of the measures in the Scotland Act 2012, which gives the Scottish Parliament responsibility for devolved areas of taxation and ICAS has been involved in consultations on the legislation at every stage of the process.

The final Bill, which underwent many amendments in the second and third stages of its progress, was passed without division at decision time in the parliament.

Scottish Finance Secretary John Swinney said, "This Bill is an important milestone which provides an opportunity to put in place a distinctive Scottish approach to taxation founded on Adam Smith's four principles — that taxes should be proportionate to the ability to pay, that there must be certainty, convenience for the taxpayer and efficiency.

"I am determined that Revenue Scotland will combat tax avoidance as vigorously and effectively as possible, and the Bill contains a wide-ranging General Anti-Avoidance Rule (GAAR) which will allow Revenue Scotland to take robust counteraction against artificial tax avoidance schemes — not just the most abusive end of the spectrum."

SNP MSP John Mason CA, Deputy Convener of the Holyrood Finance Committee, said the Bill "is particularly significant" whatever the outcome of the Independence Referendum on 18 September as it provides the Scottish Parliament with greater powers over taxation.

Charlotte Barbour, ICAS Head of Taxation (Private Clients and Small Business), said, "ICAS is pleased to have been involved in this process and welcomes the consultative approach adopted by the Scottish Government and Scottish Parliament throughout the legislation's passage."

The Bill will now go forward for Royal Assent.


  • Tax
  • Political landscape

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