Revenue Scotland ready to replace HMRC for devolved taxes
Revenue Scotland, the department replacing HMRC in the country from 1 April is "on track" to manage devolved tax collection according to the Scottish government.
It formally became a non-ministerial department on 1 January.
Its board members have been announced, including chair Dr Keith Nicholson, an internationally recognised scientist and company director and John Whiting, tax director of the Office of Tax Simplification.
Around 21 staff have been placed, and a final wave of recruitment will begin this month. However tax policy director at the CIOT Patrick Stevens has warned that some salaries may be too low for the expertise required.
Applicants are being offered £20,000 - £30,000 per year to become tax risk analysts and business managers. Stevens said however that this was "absurdly far away" from the salary it takes to recruit experts and expressed his concern that staff won't be qualified enough.
He said: “You are not going to get the experts you want. You are not talking about expertise on an existing tax because much of it is new. You have to have a higher-level person to be able to handle these new situations.”
Last month Audit Scotland criticised the new tax department, saying delays in hiring staff and procuring an IT system have increased the risk taxes won't be effectively managed this year.
But Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon said she was "satisfied" with steps being taken and vowed to closely monitor its progress.
The new department's website is currently live, as are some features such as its online tax calculator. This month it is undergoing user testing, and in February its online tax portal is set to go live, and payment systems and banking arrangements have been finalised.
It is drafting guidance on the new Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) which will replace SDLT, in addition to the Scottish Landfill tax (SLfT).
You can follow Revenue Scotland on Twitter to keep up to date on its progress @RevenueScotland.