Benefits of devolved tax must outweigh costs, says ICAS

DEVOLVED TAX POWERS should only be implemented where they generate genuine benefits that outweigh the costs of setting up such powers, said ICAS.

In its submission to the Smith Commission – currently thrashing out which powers should be devolved following September’s highly charged devolution vote – ICAS urged the commission to ensure that the devolution of income taxes should be carefully implemented on a step-by-step basis to avoid “the risk of unintended consequences”.

The 20,000-strong membership body also put forward its case for the creation of a Scottish Office of Budget Responsibility (SOBR), while stressing the need for a single system of UK company and audit regulation.

ICAS chief executive Anton Colella said: “ICAS has a duty to act in the public interest in debates of national importance. This submission to the Smith Commission aims to inform the process for further devolution in a positive and constructive manner.

“Further devolution is a complex and delicate balance. Our submission sets out how we think the wish of the people for further devolution can be achieved without causing unintended consequences to the aims of doing better business, creating wealth and jobs and achieving a fairer society.”

It also called for air passenger transport duty to be devolved, as should the power to allow the setting up of a Scottish minimum wage.

And in an Ipsos MORI poll of its members, almost seven out of ten (68%) surveyed favoured some further devolution – although views were varied on how much should be devolved.

A resounding 88% said they want increased accountability of the Scottish Parliament, while 69% said they think the Scottish Parliament should make greater use of its existing devolved powers.

Scotland has already used its new-found tax autonomy to set its own rate of stamp duty land tax, and land and buildings transaction tax, from April 2015.

The new rates, the first to be introduced in Scotland in 307 years, will only be payable on the portion of the total value which falls within each band











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