Scottish Income Tax – implementation delayed?

A report today in the Scotsman questions whether HMRC will be ready to deliver the Scottish Rate of Income Tax (SRIT) from April 2016. They refer to HMRC papers obtained under an FOI request from July of this year which indicate that as the SRIT will now not be announced until January (as the Scottish government budget has had to be delayed from the autumn due to the Westminster spending review) and the difficulty in identifying Scottish taxpayers from HMRC’s address data, codes may not be ready for the main coding run which takes place early in the new year.

A Scottish government spokesman said that there is  ‘no definitive list of Scottish residents and HMRC will continue checking its address data against third party information to check accuracy’. It is not clear who these third parties are although there was speculation some months ago that the NHS in Scotland had ruled out supplying corroborative address data to HMRC.

Whether HMRC are ready or not, of course the UK’s nationwide employers and their payroll software providers will have pulled out the stops to deliver a new tax regime. Let’s hope we get a clear and unequivocal ‘yes’ or ‘no’ early in the new year. The two governments may not be joined up but many employers still operate across the whole of the UK and are entitled to know what they are expected to deliver for their employees from April.