The Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS) are calling on Scotland’s political parties to improve public awareness of devolved taxation in the next parliament session.
The news follows on from a recent poll of 1,098 adults in Scotland undertaken by the Diffley Partnership in March 2021 that showed a third of Scots were unaware that the Scottish Parliament has made changes to the tax system.
A further 26% said they were ‘“not aware of” the Scottish parliament’s powers to make changes to income tax rates in Scotland, while 25% said the same for Holyrood’s powers over Council Tax, Business Rates and Land and Buildings Transaction Tax.
Just over one in four (27%) correctly identified that income tax powers are shared between the Scottish and UK parliaments, a fall of four points since the survey was first conducted in 2018.
Additionally, 83% of Scots surveyed think they “need better information” about how taxes are decided in Scotland, this compares to 86% in 2019 and 84%in 2018.
Alexander Garden, chair of the CIOT’s Scottish technical committee, said: “As political parties set out how they plan to use Holyrood’s tax powers, it should be concerning that a third of respondents are unaware that the Scottish Parliament has made changes to the tax system in Scotland.
“As taxes account for a significant amount of money spent by Holyrood, it should be a priority of the next Scottish Parliament to ensure that taxpayers can understand more about Scotland’s tax powers and the changes that are being made in their names.”
Charlotte Barbour, director of taxation at ICAS, added: “Having an equivalent to the UK Finance Bill at Holyrood is one of the ways that awareness of Holyrood’s tax powers could be boosted, by making sure that tax policy is more visible in the Scottish political calendar.
“Increased awareness will become more important if discussions around the role of the Scottish tax system increase in prominence as we emerge from the pandemic.”