Scottish Government point way to fairer Scotland by axing tax

john-swinney.jpg
Finance Minister John Swinney advocates a more progressive system
for taxing house buyers


Scottish news: Scottish Government point way to fairer Scotland by axing tax

by Jamie Mann

The Scottish Government are planning to alter stamp duty in Scotland from a percentage charge to a progressive transaction tax meaning thousands of less well-off Scottish housebuyers could pay less tax on property purchases.

SNP Finance Secretary John Swinney MSP today announced that the move would be fairer for Scots as a consultation on a progressive Land and Building Transaction Tax would shift focus onto “an individual’s ability to pay”.

The decision has so far gained support from the National Association of Estate Agents’ Alison Hatrick, the Scottish Property Federation’s David Melhuish, CBI Scotland’s director Iain McMillan and the Law Society of Scotland.

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The Scotland Act 2012 will delegate powers from Westminster to Holyrood for stamp-duty, housing, tax and borrowing, but not until April 2015.

Mr Swinney told MSP’s:

"In today's consultation on the proposed Land and Building Transaction Tax we have signalled our preference for a progressive system of taxation where the amount of tax paid is more closely related to the value of the property and therefore to the ability of the individual to pay.

"At the same time our consultation also indicates a willingness to adjust the threshold at which taxation is levied in order to support those at the lower end of the market.

"To ensure that the views of the taxpayer and expert communities remain embedded in the development of our approach to taxation, we will also establish a Tax Consultation Forum to which representative bodies, networks and organisations with an interest in the tax system can contribute.

"This will complement our formal consultation structures”.

The Finance Secretary plans to establish a new public body, Revenue Scotland, which would collect and administer taxes at a lower cost than that HMRC.

Though the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats were critical of a new quango (Quasi-Autonomous Non-Governmental Organisation) which they say would not justify administrations costs or be as effective in tax collection as the HM Revenue.

Scottish Lib Dem Leader Willie Rennie MSP said:

“Mr Swinney didn’t set out today a grand new vision for the use of these new tax powers.

“Instead, what got him excited was the prospect of setting up a new tax office quango with all the potential costs and extra administrative burden on business that come with it”.

Scottish Conservative Finance Spokesman Gavin Brown said:

"Here we are in the toughest of economic times and the Scottish Government's big wheeze is to create yet another quango, which will no doubt come complete with lapel pins and wrist bands to consummate their arrival.

"Revenue Scotland will no doubt have considerable start-up costs, as it is starting from scratch with no systems or infrastructure.

"I would call on the Scottish Government to get a detailed cost break-down from the HMRC and others to make sure they have robust figures.

"This is just more back-of-the-fag-packet policies from the SNP”.

However, the Scottish Greens view the new potential tax body as an opportunity to catch tax-dodgers in Scotland.

Patrick Harvie, Green MSP for Glasgow proposed that the finance secretary include a representative from the Tax Justice Network on the proposed new Tax Consultation Forum, which, Mr Swinney agreed to consider.

Mr Harvie said:

"The creation of Revenue Scotland is an ideal opportunity for Scotland to make clear its intention to weed out tax dodgers whose use of havens and dodgy accounting increases the burden on the rest of society. I look forward to making the case for the proposed Consultation Forum including those who represent the wider public interest.

"It’s vital that Scotland doesn’t recreate the tax-dodging culture which has thrived in the UK. The government's consultation does not commit to a general anti-avoidance rule but at least the Cabinet Secretary agreed to listen to the case for beefing up his approach”.

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commented 2012-06-08 16:35:58 +0100 · Flag
As usual, the Cons and Libs have nothing of value to say on the matter. They really hate to see a government making changes which do not benefit the elites to the detriment of everyone else!

The comedy never stops with this bunch of jokers attempting to slate the SNP but in the process pointing out their own follies. Quangos costing fortunes is something the Cons know all about!! Pathetic behaviour.
published this page in News 2012-06-08 15:45:59 +0100