6. Next Steps
We are extremely grateful to the respondents and the attendees of the events for their time and effort in participating in this consultation.
We would also like to acknowledge the survey CIOT, ATT and ICAS undertook of their members as part of their respective responses to the consultation. We found the evidence provided by the poll as a helpful means of supporting responses to the individual questions. We would like to thank CIOT, ATT and ICAS for undertaking the survey, and their members for taking part in it.
The feedback provided to the consultation will help to shape the future work on the Devolved Taxes Policy Framework, including the policy and legislative cycle and related approach to engagement and consultation. The next steps the Scottish Government will take in this work are outlined here.
6.1 Approach to engagement and consultation
At each of the consultation events, there was positive feedback about the speakers, both in terms of content and variety, and the opportunities for wider discussion on tax. There were also points for us to reflect on, such as the choice of venue and how we can better publicise the events. Building on what we have learned from these events and the responses to this consultation, it is our intention to hold a conference on taxation in early 2020. Further information on this will be provided in due course.
Later this year, the Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Economy and Fair Work and the Minister for Public Finance and Digital Economy intends to hold a series of roundtable events on tax with business and trade associations, tax and legal professionals, and research institutes. These events will provide stakeholders with the opportunity to support tax policy considerations in the lead up to the Scottish Budget.
A number of respondents suggested that more could be done to promote key messages through social media. We are keen to make better use of this channel of communication and will shortly be commencing a programme of social media activity to promote awareness of devolved taxes through the @ScotGovEconomy Twitter account. Tweets will include highlights of the performance of existing taxes and provide information on future developments. We welcome any feedback on the content and how it has been received.
6.2 Policy and legislative cycle
As noted in section 2.2, the Devolved Taxes Legislation Working Group has been convened to consider the implications and timescales of a number of legislative options which seek to provide a more strategic approach to devolved tax legislation.
The consultation paper explained that our aim was to provide an analysis of responses to the consultation by late summer. This was to be followed by a Scottish Government response in late 2019 to coincide with the conclusion of the Devolved Taxes Legislation Working Group.
Due to the complexities and range of views the Group is considering, the Group will now publish an interim report in early 2020, which will act as a consultation and provide an opportunity for input from a wider-range of stakeholders. Following this, the concluding findings from the Group will be published in a final report in summer 2020.
As aforementioned, the point at which tax legislation will be introduced to Parliament and how long its parliamentary process will take are two of the matters being considered by the Group. These two points are fundamental to the timing of the proposed policy and legislative cycle. Therefore, following the Groups final report in summer 2020, we will publish the final Devolved Taxes Policy Framework including the complete policy and legislative cycle and associated approach to engagement and consultation.
6.3 Working with Revenue Scotland
Some respondents to this consultation mentioned the working relationship between the Scottish Government and Revenue Scotland, and there have previously been calls from stakeholders to adopt a 'policy partnership' to facilitate closer working, particularly on the administrative aspects of tax policy. In its response, LSoS stated that:
"It is important that there is clear information for, and communication to, taxpayers not only as to the division of responsibilities between Scottish Government and Revenue Scotland but also as to how this will affect them."
As noted in the consultation paper, the Scottish Government and Revenue Scotland have consistently worked together on the development of tax policy. This collaborative approach has ensured that tax policy is evidence based, that changes can be delivered on a practical level, and that legislation is informed by Revenue Scotland's operational and technical experience.
We have used the consultation exercise as an opportunity to reflect on the terms of our working relationship in light of our experience of working together on the fully devolved taxes since 2015. The Scottish Government and Revenue Scotland will shortly be publishing a new agreement, Working Together on Tax. This document will set out principles to underpin the commitment of both organisations to continuing to work together to develop and maintain an effective and efficient tax system for Scotland.
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