Mark McDonald MSP says the role of HMRC in implementing Scottish
taxes "has to be seriously questioned"
Scottish News: UK Government impeding Scotland’s tax raising powers
By Jamie Mann
The Scottish Parliament Finance Committee has raised reservations over Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) about their plans for the devolution of tax powers in the Scotland Act.
Evidence presented to the Finance Committee has revealed that HMRC would have the powers to veto any change to the status quo and charge up to £8m a year in administration costs.
Finance Committee member Mark McDonald MSP said:
“HMRC’s answers to the Committee have themselves thrown up many more questions.
“The point of taking responsibility for taxation is to be able to make it fit for Scottish circumstances. It seems HMRC would not be willing to take that step.
“If they can in fact refuse or delay implementation, then the role of HMRC in implementing these taxes has to be seriously questioned.
“HMRC would not be able to say no to the UK Government. It raises questions over the operation of these taxes in the future that they can say no to Scottish Ministers.”
The department revealed this morning that they would charge between £3m and £8 in tax collection each year, which is the recommended guideline figure provided in the Regulatory Impact Assessment.
Sarah Walker, Deputy Director and Head of Devolution Team at HMRC, has reportedly said that if the Scottish Government wanted to alter the stamp duty or landfill taxes, HMRC could:
• Change the cost of administration
• Delay implementation
• Refuse to administer them
This new evidence has raised concern for the Scottish Government, who could face a loosened grip over the nation’s future tax powers and for Scottish taxpayers who could see more money drained from the public purse.
SNP MSP Mark McDonald continued:
"When HMRC expect the Scottish Government to pay up to £8m for the collection of just one tax it seems ridiculous that they could then refuse to implement them.
"If we're going to have devolution of tax powers, let's have real devolution.”