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Revenue Scotland and Tax Powers Act 2014

Defence of unjustified enrichment
Section 109 – Defence to certain claims for relief under section 107 or 108

150.This section provides that Revenue Scotland can reject a claim for relief on the basis that paying it would unjustly enrich the person making the claim. This would happen if the taxpayer was not the person who ultimately bore the cost of the tax. For example, for SLfT, while the tax is paid by the landfill site operator it is ultimately borne by those charged for depositing waste at the site.

Section 110 – Unjustified enrichment: further provision

151.This section explains circumstances in which a repayment would constitute unjustified enrichment where the payment of tax was made by someone other than the taxpayer. Loss or damage related to mistaken assumptions about tax made by a taxpayer should be excluded from consideration of whether a taxpayer would be unjustly enriched. The taxpayer may show that a certain amount would be appropriate compensation for the loss or damage resulting from the mistaken assumption and this may be taken into account.

Section 111 – Unjustified enrichment: reimbursement arrangements

152.This section provides that the Scottish Ministers may make regulations (subject to the affirmative procedure) under which certain reimbursement arrangements may count for the purposes of section 109 (and so do not allow Revenue Scotland to defend the claim for repayment on the ground of unjust enrichment). The regulations may also provide for the conditions that such reimbursement arrangements must comply with, and for other reimbursement arrangements to be disregarded for the purpose of section 109 ( so that the fact that the person claiming a repayment may be reimbursing others does not stop Revenue Scotland using the unjust enrichment defence). Subsection (2) defines “reimbursement arrangements” as arrangements made by the person claiming under which the repaid tax is passed on to the persons who actually bore the cost of paying the tax in the first place. For example, if a landfill site operator had overpaid tax, having collected that tax from the person who disposed of the waste, then to return an overpayment of tax to the landfill site operator may lead to the operator being unjustly enriched (if the person who disposed of the waste cannot be found to be reimbursed).

153.Subsection (3) sets out the elements of reimbursement arrangements which may be required by the regulations provided for in subsection (1). These arrangements include setting a period for reimbursement to take place, repayment to Revenue Scotland if reimbursement does not take place and requires interest paid by Revenue Scotland on a repayment to be treated in the same way as the repayment, as well as records to be kept and made available to Revenue Scotland on request that show how the arrangements for reimbursement were carried out.

Section 112 – Reimbursement arrangements: penalties

154.This section provides that regulations made under section 111 may make provision for penalties to be imposed where an obligation by virtue of subsection 111(4) is breached. Regulations may set out circumstances in which a penalty is payable, the amounts payable, and other arrangements for penalties, which may be different for different taxes. The regulations may not create criminal offences.

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Text created by the Scottish Government to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Acts of the Scottish Parliament except those which result from Budget Bills.


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