New Scottish tax body asked to 'design out' tax avoidance

By agency reporter
2 Nov 2012

The Scottish Finance Secretary must end tax avoidance by large companies such as Starbucks as it gains more tax powers in Scotland, Greens have argued.

The Scottish Government is currently setting up its own tax authority, Revenue Scotland, to manage devolved taxes.

At Holyrood yesterday, Alison Johnstone, Lothian Green MSP asked Finance Secretary John Swinney to put measures to tackle tax avoidance high on the agenda for the new organisation.

She is also calling for small businesses to be represented on the Scottish Government's Tax Consultation Forum, which will be formed shortly.

Mr Swinney, who is a Scottish National Party (SNP) MSP, agreed that tax avoidance measures would be "at the heart" of the new tax regime.

Alison Johnstone MSP commented: "We learned recently that Starbucks has paid a mere £8.6 million in corporation tax in the UK over 14 years, and paid nothing in the last three. The creation of Revenue Scotland represents a unique chance to build a fairer system, rather than to hastily import UK problems and loopholes.

She continued: "Any new taxation system in Scotland must explicitly support the local economy and those small businesses who do pay their fair share in tax to support public services. I want to see small businesses around the top table helping to design a system where all companies pay their fair share, no matter how many clever accountants they employ."

* More on the Scottish government and the new tax body: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Government/Finance/scottishapproach/re...

[Ekk/3]

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