Review group recommends committee to scrutinise devolved taxes

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The Scottish Parliament should consider setting up a committee dedicated to scrutinising devolved taxes, the body representing Scotland's tax professionals has said.

The Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) made the recommendation in its submission to the review of Holyrood's budget process.

The review group was established in light of Scotland's new fiscal powers and amid concerns over the amount of time available for parliamentary scrutiny of the budget.

It will report to Holyrood's Finance Committee and ministers before the summer recess.

The CIOT said the dedicated tax committee could oversee tax legislation and scrutinise tax plans laid out in future Scottish budgets.

It could also monitor the operation of the Fiscal Framework - the financial agreement between the UK and Scottish Governments underpinning Holyrood's new powers.

The CIOT has also recommended that an annual Scottish Finance Bill be introduced as part of the budget process, for carrying out annual tax changes, such as to tax rates and bands, and might enable more effective parliamentary scrutiny of such tax changes.

CIOT's Moira Kelly said: "The devolution of new tax raising powers to the Scottish Parliament has in recent years shifted Holyrood's focus from being a purely spending parliament to one that is also accountable to the public for an increasing amount of the money that it spends.

"With this new focus, there are a number of steps that we believe the Budget Process Review Group should explore, including the benefits of establishing a dedicated tax legislation committee and introducing an annual Scottish finance bill."

A Scottish Parliament spokesman said: "We welcome all contributions to the Budget Process Review Group on how we can ensure there is proper oversight and scrutiny of Scotland's new tax and spending powers."