Changes to the Scottish rate of Income Tax
The Scottish Rate of Income Tax (SRIT) commenced on 6 April 2016 and is administered by HMRC on behalf of the Scottish government. The SRIT is payable on the non-savings and non-dividend income of those defined as Scottish taxpayers. For the 2016-17 the Income Tax rates and bands remained the same as in the rest of the UK.
In a landmark vote, the Scottish Parliament has voted to freeze the higher rate of Income Tax threshold at £43,000 for 2017-18. This means that for the first time some Scottish taxpayers will be paying more Income Tax than those living south of the Border. Whilst the Income Tax rates will remain the same as in the rest of the UK, the higher rate of Income Tax threshold means that higher rate Scottish taxpayers will pay up to an extra £400 in tax in 2017-18 compared to their counterparts in the rest of the UK.
The definition of a Scottish taxpayer is generally focused on the question of whether the taxpayer has a ‘close connection’ with Scotland or elsewhere in the UK. The liability to SRIT is not based on nationalist identity, location of work or the source of a person’s income e.g. receiving a salary from a Scottish business.
HMRC’s guidance states that for the vast majority of individuals, the question of whether or not they are defined as a Scottish taxpayer will be a simple one – they will either live in Scotland and thus be a Scottish taxpayer or live elsewhere in the UK and not be a Scottish taxpayer.
There will always be cases where a taxpayer’s status is not so clear cut. HMRC’s technical guidance looks at relevant case law and includes examples where a taxpayer has more than one residence either side of the border.
It is important to note that the SRIT is only payable on non-savings and non-dividend income. This means that some Scottish taxpayers who also have savings and dividend income will need to consider the UK rates as well as the Scottish rates when calculating their Income Tax bill.