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Tax plans on track for April launch

“Substantial activity” in place as Revenue Scotland prepares to go live.

Scotland’s new tax agency has “well-developed plans” in place to collect devolved taxes ahead of its launch in April next year, according to a report by Audit Scotland.

Published yesterday (THURSDAY), the report – Preparations for the Implementation of the Scotland Act 2012 – notes “substantial activity is ongoing” at Revenue Scotland and acknowledges that “establishing arrangements for [administering] these new powers is a large and complex task”.

Progress towards implementing Scotland’s new devolved taxes on April 1st includes:

  • Final tranche of staff recruitment to begin as planned in January
  • Tax calculator now live on Revenue Scotland website (www.revenue.scot) showing frontline users what Land and Buildings Transaction Tax will be due from April under the Scottish Government’s proposed rates and bands
  • Frontline users to begin volunteer testing in January
  • Online registration for front line users on schedule to go live in February
  • Payment systems and banking arrangements finalised
  • Consulting with front line users on technical guidance for both taxes – the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax and the Scottish Landfill Tax

Welcoming the analysis, Deputy First Minister and Finance Secretary John Swinney said yesterday :

“Our approach to establishing new taxes in Scotland has been widely praised for our consultation with those who use the system and our efforts to crack down on tax avoidance.

“And today’s report shows that Revenue Scotland is on track to manage collection of the new devolved taxes from April 1st next year.

“This report rightly acknowledges that establishing the arrangements for our new financial powers is a ‘large and complex programme of work’. Establishing a new tax collection agency from scratch is a major operation – Revenue Scotland staff are rising to that challenge and I welcome Audit Scotland’s recognition of the excellent work done on policy development and legislation.

“They have found that clear programme structures and well-developed project plans are in place to manage the devolved taxes and they acknowledge that this is a live programme where substantial activity continues.”

Commenting on the work underway to ensure Revenue Scotland is fully operational on April 1st, Mr Swinney added:

“Revenue Scotland has in place a team with expert legal, financial, leadership and operational tax experience and the detailed phased recruitment plan to deliver the necessary operational staff is progressing on track.

“Technical guidance on the two taxes is currently being consulted on with external stakeholders and future users of our online tax system are currently being recruited to help us ensure it is user-friendly, effective and efficient.

“Development of IT is proceeding well and is on track to be completed in good time for the roll-out of tax collection in Scotland this April.

“We are closely monitoring Revenue Scotland’s progress ahead of its go-live date in April. I am confident we have robust plans in place to ensure smooth delivery of the service and it is heartening to see this thorough planning acknowledged by Audit Scotland.”

 

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