The Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) believes decision-making and parliamentary oversight of devolved tax powers needs to be strengthened. Steps to achieve this could include establishing a Scottish Taxes Bill with a guaranteed slot in the parliamentary timetable and improved collaboration between institutions responsible for Scottish taxes and their interactions with the wider UK tax system. It can be difficult to find time in the parliamentary calendar to address many of the care and maintenance issues required to ensure the tax system works as it should. There is a ministerial commitment from 2018 to clarify certain LBTT rules, for example, that remains unaddressed because of this. A priority needs to be completion of the work of the Devolved Taxes Legislation Working Group, established during the last Scottish Parliament session to improve tax processes. Its findings can help set the tone for how the Scottish Parliament approaches its scrutiny of tax policy. Better tax processes The CIOT believes there needs to be a more strategic approach to the process of tax-policy making, for both new and existing taxes. Taxes like the Workplace Parking Levy and Tourist Tax were announced with no consultation. This doesn’t lead to good tax policy making, because it makes it more likely that shortcomings in the proposals will be found. A more strategic approach is in the best interests of the long-term health of the tax system. Principles to follow include identifying the purpose and locus of the tax, consulting early and widely, ensuring that collection and compliance are easy and that consideration is given to how they interact with existing taxes. In the case of environmental taxes, for which a long-term plan is needed, because climate change is not simply a national issue, there needs to be close co-operation between all the nations of the UK (and arguably beyond) to ensure policies are joined-up. About the CIOT The Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) is the leading professional body in the UK for advisers dealing with all aspects of taxation. We are a charity and our primary purpose is to promote education in taxation with a key aim of achieving a more efficient and less complex tax system for all.
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