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Wales Act 2014

Section 6: Taxation: introductory

32.This section provides the structure within which the Welsh Government may legislate on tax. Subsection (2) of section 6 inserts a new Part 4A into GOWA 2006, commencing with new section 116A (part of the introductory Chapter 1).

33.Section 116A(1) introduces Chapters 3 and 4 into Part 4A which specify taxes on land transactions (Chapter 3) and on disposals of waste to landfill (Chapter 4) as devolved taxes.

34.Section 116A(2) provides that Part 4A imposes restrictions on the power to legislate in relation to devolved taxes, including new section 116A(3).

35.Section 116A(3) provides that a devolved tax introduced by the Welsh Government may not be imposed where to do so would be incompatible with the UK’s international obligations. This would include, for example, certain land transactions in circumstances covered by articles of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations or the North Atlantic Treaty, where any tax levied would have to be reimbursed by the UK Government.

36.Section 116A(4) defines a “devolved tax” for the purposes of GOWA 2006 as meaning a tax specified in the new Part 4A as a devolved tax.

37.In short, section 116B confers legislative competence on the Assembly to provide for the appointment of civil servants to a body it establishes in connection with devolved taxes.  However, only the employees of the body whose functions relate to the collection and management of devolved taxes and/or local government finance matters can be civil servants.  Regardless of on whom the Assembly confers the power to appoint those civil servants, the costs associated with their appointment are to be borne by the Welsh Ministers.

38.Section 116B(1) provides that this section applies where the Assembly legislates to establish a body that is to exercise functions in relation to the collection and management of devolved taxes.  Reference is made to the fact that the Assembly may also choose to provide for that same body to exercise functions in relation to local government finance matters (such as council tax and business rates) or any other matter.

39.Section 116B(2) defines "relevant official" for the purposes of this section.  Relevant officials means, in relation to a body established under subsection (1), those officers or members of staff who have no functions other than functions relating to (a) the collection or management of devolved taxes; or (b) local government finance.  Therefore, officers or members of staff appointed to the body, whose functions relate to any other matter, will not be "relevant officials" for the purposes of this section.

40.Section 116B(3) confers on the Assembly legislative competence to provide for the appointment of relevant officials as civil servants as provided for in this section.

41.Section 116B(4) defines "relevant civil servants" to be those relevant officials who have been appointed as civil servants as provided for in this section. Subsections (5)-(7) will only apply to those civil servants.

42.Section 116B(5) provides that the Welsh Ministers are responsible for payment of the salaries and expenses of relevant civil servants appointed by virtue of section 116B(3), irrespective of on whom the Assembly chooses to confer the power to appoint them.

43.Section 116B(6) requires the Welsh Ministers to make payments to the Minister for the Civil Service at such times as he may determine in respect of pensions etc. payable to past and present relevant civil servants and in respect of any expenses to be incurred in administering those pensions etc.

44.Section 116B(7) provides that the Welsh Ministers may, if they so wish, make payments towards the provision of pensions etc. to or in respect of past and present relevant civil servants.

45.Section 116C(1)(a) provides that Part 4A may be amended by Order in Council to provide for additional taxes to be devolved to the Assembly. Subsection (1)(b) introduces an order making power allowing amendments to be made in relation to devolved taxes.

46.Section 116C(2) provides that an Order in Council made under subsection (1) can amend other documents, including primary or secondary legislation if this is appropriate.

47.Section 116C(3) specifies that an Order made under subsection (1) is subject to the affirmative resolution procedure in the Assembly and both Houses of Parliament before it can become law.

48.Section 116C(4) ensures that an Order in Council made under this section would not affect the validity of an Act of the Assembly passed before the amendment comes into force, or the operation of such an Act.

49.Subsections (3) to (9) of section 6 make further amendments to GOWA 2006. Subsection (3)(a) amends section 108(4)(a) of GOWA 2006 to specify that the legislative competence test in section 108(4)(a) is now also subject to the new subsection (4A). Subsection (3)(b) inserts this new subsection (4A) into section 108 to provide that where the Assembly legislates in relation to a devolved tax, such legislation will not be outside the Assembly's legislative competence by reason only of the fact that it falls within an exception specified under another heading. This is necessary to ensure that, if in the future an Order is made under section 116C permitting additional taxes, the existing exceptions under other headings (which include, for example, motor vehicle insurance) do not prevent provision about taxes on those matters. Subsections (8) and (9) amend Schedule 7 to GOWA 2006 (which lists the subjects on which the Assembly can legislate) to provide that devolved taxes are within the Assembly’s legislative competence. Devolved taxes in this context are considered to cover everything necessary to implement devolved taxation including the collection and management of such taxes.

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