There may still be a significant transfer of powers from Westminster to the Scottish Parliament. The issue is to what extent “devo-max” is adopted and agreed. Whilst the details remain unclear, far-reaching changes in law and regulation will follow that businesses and other organisations with operations in Scotland will need to grapple with. To assist our clients we have created a microsite to enable them to keep track of reforms as they come through and provide insight and information. You can access this site here where you can download a bookmark onto your mobile device.

Key issues:

  • changes taking place to Scottish taxation regardless of the referendum’s outcome. For example, Scotland will have its own tax authority (“Revenue Scotland”) which, from April next year, will deal with the new devolved taxes of Land and Building Transaction Tax and Scottish Landfill Tax. Devolved taxes will be within the scope of a far-reaching general anti-avoidance rule and there is a broad political consensus, that further taxing powers should be devolved to the Scottish Government. Scottish aspects of UK-wide taxation are changing too, with the introduction of the “Scottish Rate of Income Tax”, which apply to tax payers resident in Scotland from 2016.
  • certain “devo max” options may increase compliance costs. For example, it has been suggested that the current Scottish Rate of Income Tax (“SRIT”) provisions contained within the UK tax code (and coming into force for Scottish residents from 2016), could be expanded so that different rates of SRIT applied to different tax bands (i.e. not just a flat single rate of SRIT applied to all of basic, higher and additional bands), or even that the bands themselves may change for Scottish residents. For employers with employees resident on both sides of the border (possibly all with a place of work in Scotland), this could increase the PAYE administration burden. In addition, those modifying non-occupational pension fund platforms to cope with SRIT as currently proposed, may do well to design in as much flexibility as possible.

For more information on post-vote implications for sectors and areas of law, please click here.