By Kay Powell, Wales Policy Adviser, The Law Society.
The Law Society began its work on Welsh taxes even before Wales had the power to raise new taxes. In the usual way, we scrutinised the legislation for replacing stamp duty land tax and establishing the new tax authority for Wales, the Welsh Revenue Authority (WRA).
Formed by Welsh Government, the WRA is the first body of its kind in Wales. It was obvious from the earliest stages of its inception that there was an opportunity to work in a new way.
Approaching the first new devolved Welsh taxes in eight centuries, the Law Society supported Welsh Government and the WRA to take a twenty-first century approach to engagement: working together to develop new tax policies and services.
During the development of the WRA, the Law Society worked closely with a core team of Welsh Government and WRA staff, who were open and receptive to the views of solicitors with experience of the old taxes and who were keen to improve the system for the new ones.
Our members also generously contributed through joining user groups to offer their views and opinions during the development phase of the digital tax system. This meant that the WRA was able to test and refine its services before launch on 1 April.
Ahead of the launch, we promoted the WRA’s engagement events which reached close to 1,000 people from across England and Wales.
A joint workshop gave Kathryn Bishop, Chair of the WRA Board and WRA staff the opportunity to interact with many solicitors who are now regular customers. By April 2018, the WRA recorded over 1,200 registrations.
This partnership approach saw a seamless introduction of the Land Transaction Tax and I believe this innovative way of working is a blueprint for the future.
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