CIPFA calls for more progressive property tax system in Scotland and more powers for councils

29-06-2015

Finance chiefs today called for a more progressive property tax system in Scotland to improve local accountability and proposed an end to the council tax freeze.

The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) and the CIPFA Directors of Finance Section said that local tax should be set and raised by councils free from Scottish Government intervention.

In a joint submission to the Commission on Local Tax Reform, they also proposed that local accountability would be improved by providing councils with more discretionary powers to set and raise local taxes, such as a tourist tax.

Other recommendations include:

  • Ensuring that property revaluation is undertaken on an ongoing basis and moves away from the present system where properties are valued based on 1991 figures.
  • Expanding the tax base by increasing the range of bands or even basing it on individual property values.
  • Phasing in the alterations with transitional arrangements which would smooth out the effect of any changes.

Don Peebles, Head of CIPFA Scotland, said: 

“Our submission focuses on what practical and achievable improvements are possible. For that reason we advocate a progressive property system as the basis for local taxation.  However, we do think that the time is now right for further discretionary powers to be given to local authorities.”

Laura Friel, Chair of the CIPFA Directors of Finance Section, said

“A key strength of local accountability is that tax is set locally by elected representatives.  In the modernised system that we envisage, local taxation will once again be truly local.”

The Commission on Local Tax Reform was set up by the Scottish government to examine possible alternatives to council tax.

It is expected to report its findings in the autumn.

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Notes to editors: 

For more information and for a copy of the submission, please contact CIPFA’s press office or download your copy