Revenue Scotland has recently conducted a review of its administrative processes following the completion of its second operational year. This included reviewing the processes around penalty notices. The issuing of pre-penalty notices is not a statutory requirement and the review highlighted this as an area where the organisation could introduce changes to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of its administrative process.

Following further analysis and a review of the process, Revenue Scotland has decided that the issuing of pre-penalty letters will cease, with no further pre-penalty letters issued for any returns or payments received late on or after 1 June 2017. Penalty notices for failing to submit a return and/or pay tax on time will therefore be issued without any prior written warning being given. Revenue Scotland will continue to send copies of such notices to the agent, where one has been authorised to act on behalf of the taxpayer.

Taxpayers will continue to have the right to request a review or appeal of any penalty assessment issued by Revenue Scotland. The organisation has confirmed that, to date, their Review Officers have overturned Revenue Scotland’s decision to assess a penalty in approximately 25% of late return/payment penalty cases with the main reason for cancelling the penalty being acceptance that the taxpayer had a reasonable excuse for the failure.

The format of the penalty notices will also be changing, with multiple penalties now being set out in a single notice. Revenue Scotland hope this streamlined approach will be more accessible for taxpayers and agents.

Revenue Scotland will be writing to all SETS users and those who submit paper returns to explain the forthcoming changes.

As at 19 June 2017, CML will update the CML Handbook in Scotland. The amendments include:

  • Updating the Handbook to reflect the closure of the Register of Sasines to Standard Securities
  • Removing reference to the Law Society of Scotland Coal Mining Guidance as this has been taken out of circulation
  • Aligning the Handbook instruction with the Handbook for England and Wales in respect of warranties for new build properties
  • Updating the Handbook to reflect the use of digital discharges
  • Amendment in respect of FASI and MASI professional qualifications

More information on the changes can be found at

Registers of Scotland have announced the official live launch of their Digital Discharge Service (DDS) from 1 June 2017.

DDS is an entirely digital service that Registers of Scotland say will streamline the process, making it faster, more secure, and more efficient than the existing paper-based service for discharging standard securities.

For more information on DDS, please visit

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