Tough tax avoidance stance backed by MSPs

THE Scottish Government’s proposals for a new tougher stance on tax avoidance has been backed by a Holyrood committee.

Tough new rules on tax avoidance have been backed by the Finance Committee. Picture: TSPL
Tough new rules on tax avoidance have been backed by the Finance Committee. Picture: TSPL

The Government’s plan for a general anti-avoidance rule will help provide more certainty, MSPs on the Finance Committee agreed.

The measure is part of the Revenue Scotland and Tax Powers Bill, which has now passed its first key stage before it can become law.

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The legislation lays wider foundations for new devolved taxes.

Committee convener Kenneth Gibson highlighted the new rule, saying: “The fact is that there are negative repercussions for all of us when people don’t pay their taxes.

“The Bill will ensure that Scotland takes a robust approach to tackling tax avoidance and provides greater certainty for Scottish taxpayers.

“We will also continue to closely monitor the establishment of Revenue Scotland and the implementation and delivery of devolved taxes.”

The Bill gives Revenue Scotland, which is being established to deal with the new taxes, powers to deal with “artificial” avoidance schemes.

Last month, Finance Secretary John Swinney said Scotland will take a harder line on avoidance than Westminster.

“I am signalling here that as we embark on this, the first exercise of tax management responsibilities in Scotland in 300 years, that we are starting off on the right footing,” he told the Finance Committee.

“The right footing is we expect people to pay their taxes and not to be investing heavily in trying to find ways of avoiding that.

“To enable us to do that we are turning this cultural aspiration into a legislative form with the general anti-avoidance rule and to make that as high a bar as we possibly can.”