Scotland's future

ICAS made a major contribution to the Scottish Independence Referendum debate. We drew on the expertise of our Technical staff, committees and membership to inform discussion in key areas, including tax, pensions, regulation and the wider impact of change on the economy of Scotland and the rest of the UK.

A majority in Scotland voted to remain in the UK in the Referendum on 18 September 2014 but this process was the catalyst for debate on a new devolved settlement for Scotland. This debate was taken forward by the Smith Commission, led by former ICAS President Lord Smith of Kelvin. After a period of detailed consultation, The Smith Commission published its report on 27 November.

ICAS made its submission to the commission during the consultation period.

During the referendum period ICAS contributed to the debate through a series of Technical research papers (below) and also through the hosting of debates and discussions.

The tax implications of Scottish Independence or further devolution

This independent academic research, commissioned and published by ICAS, considers the tax implications relating to Scottish Independence or further devolution. This resultant report takes no view on the desirability of the various options, but rather sets out to help establish the factors that should be taken into account if change is to be achieved successfully.

Read more here

Scotland’s tax future – Taxes explained

ICAS published the paper "Scotland's Tax Future; Taxes Explained", which seeks to inform voters on the importance of key tax and spending numbers at the centre of the independence debate and offers straightforward and objective explanations of current tax topics.

Scotland's Tax Future; Taxes Explained PDF [212 KB]

Tax issues arising from the Scotland Act 2012

This submission sought to summarise ICAS work so far in the area of the devolution, and potential further devolution, of tax powers to the Scottish Parliament, set out at length in two thought leadership papers above. It also provided observations on the progress achieved to date in the consultations on the devolved taxes and tax management provisions and suggested areas where resources and attention might be focused in the coming months.

Tax Issues Arising from the Scotland Act 2012 PDF [581 KB]

Further information

The Smith Commission set up a website for reporting progress and gathering feedback in the ongoing constitutional debate.

The website includes details of the submissions to the commission from the five main Scottish political parties.

The Scottish Government White Paper on Independence is still available for download.

The UK Government published its fifteenth and final paper in the Scotland analysis series just before the Referendum vote, United Kingdom, United Future: Conclusions of the Scotland analysis programme.


  • Consultations and responses
  • Guidance
  • Political landscape
  • Thought leadership
  • Tax
  • Pensions
  • Research

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