Approach to Compliance

Revenue Scotland's compliance approach is focussed on enabling taxpayers to comply with the law.

Revenue Scotland wants to make it as easy as possible for taxpayers to understand and comply with their obligations. Most taxpayers want to meet their obligations and do the right thing. Therefore, our overall compliance approach is focussed on enabling taxpayers to comply with the law.

Encouraging compliance requires the use of a variety of tools and partnerships and we will do this by:

  • providing information and guidance to enable taxpayers, their agents and other persons to understand their duties;
  • providing effective and user-friendly ways for taxpayers to access information and send information to us;
  • making compliance easy and straightforward;
  • applying the law fairly;
  • proactively engaging with taxpayers, businesses and professional organisations to encourage compliance;
  • verifying compliance by identifying and responding appropriately to behaviours presenting as a risk to voluntary compliance; and
  • ensuring Revenue Scotland’s approach to compliance is is proportionate, accountable, consistent, transparent and targeted.

We will demonstrate our effectiveness in order to generate confidence in the fairness and equity of our tax system by deterring those who are considering avoidance or evasion by publicising:

  • The risk of getting caught through Revenue Scotland’s compliance activities
  • That the risks of detection and sanctions by Revenue Scotland outweigh the perceived financial rewards of not complying with the legislation.
  • The civil and criminal sanctions that will apply for non-compliance

Detecting non-compliance early through effective systems to facilitate:

  • Validation and verification of information received
  • Analysis of information
  • Proactive compliance activity such as targeted visits to taxpayers who pose a high risk of non-compliance
  • Intelligence sharing with other agencies
  • Whistle-blowing and the provision of third party information

Investigating non-compliance in a fair, objective and professional manner to ensure those responsible are held to account for their actions.

Enforcing non-compliance effectively by:

  • minimising the risk of avoidance activity by good tax design, keeping complex reliefs to a minimum and operating the wide ranging General Anti-Avoidance rule (GAAR).
  • applying the most appropriate sanction ranging from  civil penalties, through to criminal prosecution

In cases of suspected non-compliance, we will consider the circumstances that apply. We will develop a set of risk factors in line with statutory objectives.

Last updated: 
21 March 2015
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