Committee (4th Day)

Part of Scotland Bill – in the House of Lords at 2:15 pm on 15th March 2012.

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Photo of The Duke of Montrose The Duke of Montrose Conservative 2:15 pm, 15th March 2012

My Lords, this is a paving amendment, and I shall address my remarks also to Amendment 54BA and the other amendments in the group. Amendment 54BA will remove the close connection condition for the purposes of identifying a Scottish taxpayer. This is an effort to remove the complications that come from trying to prove a close association, which is a concept that raises many questions of definition and interpretation. The argument is that the best way to define a Scottish taxpayer is without reference to residence in Scotland. Instead, the definition should be based on being a UK citizen and spending more time in Scotland than in other parts of the United Kingdom. This argument has been put to me by the Law Society of Scotland, and I think it has weight.

Perhaps the definition I have just pointed out goes some way to answering the call of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland for a definition in statute of what constitutes a Scottish taxpayer. At present, new Section 80D defines a Scottish taxpayer as,

"an individual ... who is resident in the UK for income tax purposes, and ... who, for that year, meets condition A, B or C".

These conditions are that the taxpayer,

"has a close connection with Scotland ... does not have a close connection with any part of the UK other than Scotland ... and ... spends more days of that year in Scotland", or is an elected parliamentary representative for Scotland.

The residence qualification is typical of the sort of issue that has raised controversy in recent legal cases. I mention Gaines-Cooper v Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs and Tuczka v Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs. New Section 80D, when combined with new Sections 80E and 80F, presents problems for those who move between jurisdictions within the United Kingdom inasmuch as they create uncertainty, difficulties of interpretation and potential problems regarding compliance. In particular, the definition of "close connection" contained in new Section 80E creates a difficulty of interpretation-and what does "place of residence" mean? It appears to be different from residence as understood in other areas of tax law, such as capital gains tax. Does "place of residence" imply ownership when juxtaposed with "main place of residence" in paragraphs (b) and (c) of new Section 80E(3)? "Place of residence" and "main place of residence" are not defined in new Section 80E, and therefore create potential problems of interpretation for those who may live in Scotland yet work in England, or vice versa, including those living on the Scottish-English border.