29th January 2015
Draft legislation that will see the devolution of tax powers to Scotland has been published by the UK government.
The proposed bill will grant Holyrood further powers to control:
- Income tax
The Scottish Parliament will be able to set the rates and thresholds of income tax from April 2016. The tax will continue to be shared, with the UK government retaining control over aspects such as personal allowance and income tax reliefs.
Scotland will keep the first 10 percentage points raised from Scottish VAT collection. The UK government will continue to set the rate of VAT in Scotland.
- Air passenger duty (APD)
The Scottish Parliament will be able to charge tax on air passengers leaving Scottish airports.
- Aggregates levy
The powers to charge tax on sand, gravel and rock that's been dug from the ground or imported will be devolved to Holyrood.
The legislation is based on the recommendations of the Smith Commission, a body set up by the government to look into the possible impact of Scottish tax devolution.
Scotland will also begin administering Land and Buildings Transaction tax and Landfill tax from 1 April 2015. These will be the first Scottish national taxes in 308 years.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney has said that Revenue Scotland is "fully prepared" to begin collecting the taxes on 1 April, and has written to the UK government confirming this view.
"Revenue Scotland staff have been working extremely hard to implement our long-standing plans to be ready to hit the ground running on 1 April, to collect and manage the 2 devolved taxes.
"Our ultimate aim is to apply a fair tax regime to help grow the economy and increase opportunities for people. I am confident Revenue Scotland is up to that challenge."
Hugh Aitken, Scotland director of the Confederation of British Industry, said that the progress was "encouraging" but urged the government to decide on a timetable for the devolution:
"Scottish businesses want to see devolution that supports a strong business environment and encourages growth for everyone. Business leaders are pragmatic about these new powers and want to work with both government on the technical details to make the changes easier to manage."
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