THE tax collection agency is under no obligation to implement any radical new levy imposed by a Scottish Government through changes to devolution laws.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) said it can effectively veto requests, in theory, to collect new landfill and property taxes if they differ too greatly from the UK system.

The potential problem emerged as part of an inquiry by the Scottish Parliament's Finance Committee into the new Scotland Act, which devolves new financial powers to Holyrood.

Sarah Walker, deputy director and head of the devolution team at HMRC, said: "The way the Act is set up, the Scottish Government have a choice whether to ask us to operate the devolved taxes, and we have freedom whether we agree or not.

"If they want to have something that has a different framework or different rates, then we would have to look at the details of what they want it to do and decide whether it made sense for us to try and adapt our systems to operate that, or whether we would need to say 'that is so different that actually there is no point in trying to operate it'."

She was responding to a question from committee member Mark McDonald, an SNP MSP, on how easy it will be for HMRC to take forward new Scottish plans.

Mr McDonald asked: "Are you saying the HMRC could turn round and refuse to operate stamp duty on behalf of the Scottish Government if the Scottish Government decided to do something radically different to that which is being done south of the Border?"

Ms Walker replied: "In theory, yes."