Opinion Former Article

Streamlined spring statement welcomed by tax professionals

The Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) in Scotland has welcomed the Chancellor sticking to his plan and delivering a streamlined spring statement.

The Institute said that this was particularly valuable for Scottish taxpayers and tax professionals already preparing for the introduction of significant changes to the Scottish tax system.

Philip Hammond’s decision to limit the introduction of new tax policy measures to a single fiscal event – the autumn Budget – had previously been welcomed by the CIOT as a means of providing respite from the treadmill of constant UK tax policy changes.

The need to act less fitfully but more consultatively and effectively was central to the ‘Better Budgets’ report published in January 2017 by the CIOT, the Institute for Government and the Institute for Fiscal Studies1.

As the Scottish Parliament adapts to its new tax-raising powers, the Institute said that the UK government’s launch of a number of early stage consultations were as welcome and important as the Scottish Government’s own consultative approach to shaping the country’s devolved taxes.

The CIOT urged Holyrood to keep these processes under review as the new tax powers take effect from next month, citing earlier calls for the introduction of an annual Scottish Finance Bill as a means of strengthening effective scrutiny of Scottish tax proposals and joining up the political and technical debates about tax in Scotland2.

Moira Kelly, chair of the CIOT Scottish Technical Committee, said:

“Scottish taxpayers and their advisers will be breathing a sigh of relief today thanks to the Chancellor’s decision to stick to his plan to deliver a streamlined Spring Statement light on new tax policy announcements.

“We are already in the midst of a period of significant change in the Scottish tax system. With a little over 3 weeks to go until the start of the new tax year, the last thing that we would have wanted to see would have been a proliferation of new tax measures.

“The commitment to engage and consult on future changes to the tax system is to be welcomed.  Consulting on, implementing and reviewing tax legislation – both UK and Scottish – must be an important part of the overall process, especially now that the devolution of tax powers has resulted in practical tax changes”.


Notes for editors

Better Budgets was published by the CIOT, Institute for Fiscal Studies and Institute for Government in January 2017. Click here for further information or to read the report.

In May 2017, the CIOT recommended the introduction of an annual Scottish Finance Bill as a means to improving the scrutiny of devolved tax legislation. It reiterated this call in February 2018.  See New income tax regime requires rethink of Holyrood’s fiscal oversight (CIOT press release, 20 February 2018).

The Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT)

The CIOT is the leading professional body in the United Kingdom concerned solely with taxation. The CIOT is an educational charity, promoting education and study of the administration and practice of taxation. One of our key aims is to work for a better, more efficient, tax system for all affected by it – taxpayers, their advisers and the authorities. The CIOT’s work covers all aspects of taxation, including direct and indirect taxes and duties. Through our Low Incomes Tax Reform Group (LITRG), the CIOT has a particular focus on improving the tax system, including tax credits and benefits, for the unrepresented taxpayer.

The CIOT draws on our members’ experience in private practice, commerce and industry, government and academia to improve tax administration and propose and explain how tax policy objectives can most effectively be achieved. We also link to, and draw on, similar leading professional tax bodies in other countries. The CIOT’s comments and recommendations on tax issues are made in line with our charitable objectives: we are politically neutral in our work.

The CIOT’s 18,000 members have the practising title of ‘Chartered Tax Adviser’ and the designatory letters ‘CTA’, to represent the leading tax qualification.

Contact: Chris Young, External Relations Officer, 07900 241 584; cyoung@tax.org.uk

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