The manifesto from the Scottish National Party supports a ‘crackdown’ on tax avoidance and ‘demands action’ on tax evasion, along with a review of the IR35 and Loan Charge rules. Policies also include campaigning for a re-design of vehicle and transport incentives to support a Green New Deal for Scotland. Also of significance are calls for a freeze on increases to VAT, National Insurance and Insurance Premium Tax, and the devolution of National Insurance to Scotland.
Key tax policies include the devolution of further tax powers to Scotland, including the devolution of National Insurance, support for the reform of VAT, reduction in employers NIC and the doubling of the Employment Allowance to £6,000 per business per year.
- Demand the devolution of further tax powers.
- Back a rise in the National Insurance discount businesses receive – the Employment Allowance – increasing it from £3,000 to £6,000 per business per year.
- Back plans for a freeze on National Insurance contributions and VAT.
- Support reform of VAT, including the continuation of VAT-exemption on essential items like children’s clothes, hold the UK government to a commitment to remove VAT from sanitary products and press the UK to keep pace with the EU and scrap VAT on e-books and e-journals.
- Back a reduction in employers National Insurance contributions.
- Encourage reform of the UK excise duty structures and fairer tax for Scotch whisky, and seek UK Government investment to improve the whisky industry’s connectivity and sustainability, including funding for low carbon projects.
- Devolution of National Insurance to Scotland and make sure that the rates and thresholds fit devolved income tax rates.
- Continue to demand the UK Government refunds the £175 million in VAT owed to Scotland’s emergency services.
- Campaign for the re-design of vehicle and tax incentives to support industry and business investment in zero emission and sustainable transport choices – such as reduced VAT on bicycles and additional incentives for businesses and individuals to use Ultra Low Emission Vehicles.
- Campaign for tax incentives to enable people to make the switch to low-carbon heating systems more affordable.
- Campaign for a reduction in VAT on energy efficiency improvements in homes, ending the Treasury’s 20% tax on making people’s homes warmer and greener.
- Press for plans to quadruple the VAT on home solar to be scrapped.
- A levy on technology companies to fully fund the regulator and associated resources to protect children from online harm.
- Support a freeze in further Insurance Premium Tax hikes to ensure consumers aren’t penalised for taking steps to reduce risks
- Continue to support tax incentives for creative industries, including for film and television, and for more work to increase equality, inclusion and diversity across the sector.
- Back improvements to tax collection and tougher action on tax avoidance, including:
- a review of the closure of HMRC offices in Scotland and across the UK,
- immediate action, including reform of Companies House, to uncover the beneficial ownership of Scottish Limited Partnerships, other companies and trusts,
- measures to improve the transparency of tax paid by international companies to ensure that they make a proportionate contribution to tax revenues, multilateral efforts to address tax challenges from the digitalisation of the economy,
- further action by the UK government to tackle international tax avoidance,
- the full implementation of the 5th Anti-Money Laundering directive and a fit for purpose online retailer tax,
- a review of the tax rules around intermediaries – known as the IR35 tax rule - and problems with implementation of the Loan Charge, and
- a comprehensive inquiry into the digitisation of tax, to uncover the reasons for HMRC and UK Government delays to the tax payments system.
By necessity, this briefing can only provide a short overview and it is essential to seek professional advice before applying the contents of this article. This briefing does not constitute advice nor a recommendation relating to the acquisition or disposal of investments. No responsibility can be taken for any loss arising from action taken or refrained from on the basis of this publication. Details correct at time of writing.
This article was previously published on Smith & Williamson prior to the launch of Evelyn Partners.