ICAS responds to Revenue Scotland Charter

6 March 2015

ICAS has responded to Revenue Scotland's consultation on its draft Charter of standards and values.

ICAS response to Revenue Scotland's consultation


A Charter of standards of behaviour and values is helpful in setting the tone of conduct between taxpayers and the state. In general, the obligations should be mutual between the two parties.

ICAS welcomes that the mutuality of obligations is reflected in the draft Revenue Scotland Charter and that it is brief, principle-based, and in plain English.

Charlotte Barbour, Head of Taxation at ICAS, said: "ICAS welcomes the fact that Revenue Scotland is to have a charter of standards and values, and the consultative nature in which it has been drafted.

"It is tempting to say that the contents of the charter should be legally binding with remedies for any breach, however, as it has to comprise standards and values this is not possible. For example, one of the most important elements in good conduct is the need for both the tax authority and taxpayers to treat one another with respect, courtesy and consideration, but this cannot be legislated for, nor can failure to adopt such manners be successfully pursued in a court or tribunal. The fact that section 10 of the Revenue Scotland and Tax Powers Act 2014 (RSTPA) requires a charter does however mean that the charter itself is enshrined in the law."

Charlotte added: "ICAS also believes that it would be helpful to have a preamble to remind taxpayers that Revenue Scotland is tasked with administering the law as laid down by parliament, and that taxpayers are expected to accept the responsibility to understand their tax compliance duties and seek assistance where necessary. Rather than simply reviewing the charter from time to time, it would be helpful if there was a regular review, such as every four years."

The Revenue Scotland and Tax Powers Act 2014 (RSTPA) sets out the legislative basis for some of the expectations about the relationship between the taxpayer and the tax authority. It also provides for a Charter of Standards and Values which will form an important foundation for this relationship. As part of the creation of the charter, Revenue Scotland has been carrying out a consultation, which offers stakeholders and taxpayers an opportunity to shape this important document.


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