General Frequently Asked Questions

Questions and answers about Scotland's tax authority and its partner organisations.

General Frequently Asked Questions

What is Revenue Scotland?

Revenue Scotland is the tax authority for Scotland’s devolved taxes.

It has been established in statute as a non-ministerial department, at arm’s length from Ministers - in line with international good practice for tax administration.

Revenue Scotland is a non-ministerial department. What does this mean in terms of its relationship with the Scottish Government and Parliament?

Revenue Scotland is accountable to the Scottish Parliament rather than to Scottish Ministers.

Scottish Ministers can give guidance, which must be published, to Revenue Scotland about the exercise of its functions. Revenue Scotland must have regard to such guidance but Scottish Ministers cannot give directions or seek to control Revenue Scotland in the exercise of its functions. Revenue Scotland must provide Scottish Ministers with information or advice if so requested, however Scottish Ministers will have no access to protected taxpayer information.

Revenue Scotland’s budget is approved by the Scottish Parliament and net revenue received in the collection and management of the devolved taxes must be paid into the Scottish Consolidated Fund.

Revenue Scotland must also prepare and publish a corporate plan and annual report, laying a copy of each before the Scottish Parliament. Financial governance and accounting is provided for under the Public Finance and Accountability (Scotland) Act 2000.

Revenue Scotland is subject to the normal governance requirements of Scottish public bodies including the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulations 2016, the Ethical Standards in Public Life etc. (Scotland) Act 2000 and the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

What if I make a payment to the wrong tax authority?

It is the responsibility of taxpayers to ensure they have made payment and notifications to the correct tax authority. Where payment has been made to the wrong authority, that authority will refund the money to the taxpayer, who will have to make arrangements for payment to the correct tax authority themselves. We are working with HMRC to put in place measures to reduce the chances of a payment being made to the wrong tax authority.

Why was Revenue Scotland established?

The Scotland Act 2012 delivered more powers to the Scottish Parliament including the power to raise taxes on land transactions and waste disposal to landfill. The Act also provides powers for new taxes to be created in Scotland, where this is supported from both Scottish and Westminster Parliaments, and for additional taxes to be devolved from Westminster.

From 1 April 2015 the existing UK Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) and Landfill Tax ceased to apply in Scotland. The Scottish block grant will be adjusted to reflect this loss in income.

Scottish Ministers have decided to use the newly devolved powers to introduce taxes to replace this income. These are:

Legislative provision is needed for the collection and administration of these new taxes. This is through the Revenue Scotland and Tax Powers Act, which was approved by the Scottish Parliament on 19 August 2014. The Scottish Parliament has established Revenue Scotland to administer the devolved taxes, working with Registers of Scotland (LBTT) and SEPA (SLfT).

What is Registers of Scotland?

Registers of Scotland is a non-Ministerial department. The Keeper (or Chief Executive) of Registers of Scotland is responsible for compiling and maintaining 17 public registers, the largest of which are the two property registers, the Land Register and the Register of Sasines. Registers of Scotland’s main aim is to record and safeguard rights whilst also providing open and efficient access to important information. Registers of Scotland records all property sales within Scotland.

Registers of Scotland has experience of gathering SDLT and will work with Revenue Scotland in the collection of LBTT.

What is The Scottish Environment Protection Agency?

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) is Scotland’s environmental regulator. Their main role is to protect and improve Scotland’s environment. They do this by helping business and industry to understand their environmental responsibilities, allowing customers to comply with legislation and good practice and to realise the economic benefits of good environmental practice. SEPA also protects communities by regulating activities that can cause harmful pollution and by monitoring the quality of Scotland's air, land and water. In their current role, SEPA license and monitor waste management facilities such as landfills and incinerators, and respond to pollution incidents and fly-tipping, etc.

A priority for SEPA is tackling these illegal waste management activities which can cause significant environmental harm and loss of business for responsible operators. SEPA, in partnership with Police Scotland and other agencies, currently undertake targeted operations to tackle illegal landfill sites, large scale and persistent dumping of waste, unlicensed skip operators, etc.

What other taxes will Revenue Scotland administer?

The Scottish Parliament has legislated for two devolved taxes. Any future tax powers will be dependent on the UK Parliament granting such powers and the Scottish Parliament enacting them.

Does Revenue Scotland administer the Scottish Rate of Income Tax (SRIT)?

No. While the Scotland Act 2012 gives the Scottish Parliament power to set SRIT, it is administered by HMRC as part of UK Income Tax.

Does Revenue Scotland oversee Council Tax and Non-Domestic Rates?

These are local taxes and there are no plans for Revenue Scotland to become responsible for local taxes. These are managed by Scottish local authorities. Revenue Scotland will be drawing upon expertise from local government to develop its administrative capacity.

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