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4 March 2014

Stevenson Highlights Scottish Solution to Millions Lost in Tax Revenue

An uncollected £35 billion in taxes by the UK Government was highlighted by Stewart Stevenson, SNP MSP for Banffshire & Buchan Coast, this week.

Mr Stevenson questioned John Swinney, Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Employment and Sustainable Growth, on how the Scottish Government would tackle the problem of tax avoidance.

Mr Swinney said the Scottish Government was determined to act decisively on avoidance of devolved taxes, adding that the Revenue Scotland and Tax Powers Bill, currently before Parliament, would enable Scotland to take robust action to counteract the issue.

Mr Stevenson said:

“Given that Scotland’s share of the amount that is being lost to the UK Treasury is approximately £3.47 billion, can the minister tell us how Scotland would benefit between now and 2016 if the UK Government were to implement a general anti-avoidance rule?”

Mr Swinney added:

“In the introduction of the Revenue Scotland and Tax Powers Bill, the bill will include a general anti-avoidance rule that is simple and more comprehensive than the corresponding provisions that the UK Government is considering. Our general anti-avoidance rule is designed to catch artificial tax-avoidance arrangements, whereas the UK approach is based on a narrow test of abuse.”

Mr Stevenson said:

“The general anti-avoidance rule will, of course, apply only to devolved taxes, but if Scotland had the ability, this ethos and approach could be used for a wide range of taxation issues, and ensure that less tax revenue is lost.”
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