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Swinney's pledge on tax avoidance

A VIGOROUS approach to combating tax avoidance was promised by the Finance Secretary as he published a Bill to establish a new collection authority.

The Revenue Scotland and Tax Powers Bill sets out the legal framework for collecting two new devolved taxes and an "anti-avoidance rule", John Swinney said.

"This Government will take a distinctly Scottish approach to taxation, including a vigorous approach to combating tax avoidance," he said."We firmly believe decisions about Scotland's taxes should be taken by the people of Scotland.

"The Bill and the establishment of Revenue Scotland are important steps in taking greater responsibility for setting and collecting taxes in Scotland."

The authority will collect tax on land and buildings transactions and the planned Scottish landfill tax.

Both will be devolved as part of the Scotland Act from April 2015.

It is etsimated the taxes will raise about £400 million a year in Scotland.

Revenue Scotland will not collect the new Scottish rate of income tax, which will be the responsibility of HM Revenue and Customs from April 2016.

The anti-avoidance rule aims to go further than the UK system, which deals with tax abuse, by tackling artificial arrangements designed to get a tax advantage.

The authority will build a firm foundation for taxes in Scotland, according to Mr Swinney.

"In Revenue Scotland we will build a tax authority and a 21st century tax system that meets the needs of our businesses and citizens," he said.

"That system will also provide a foundation for future arrangements where we expect Scotland to collect a much wider range of taxes."

Independence would also help create a "simpler" overall tax system, he said.

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