Scotland bans COVID-19 grants for tax haven companies

The Scottish Parliament has approved a measure to exclude companies based in tax havens from coronavirus-related grants after members backed a Scottish Green Party amendment to emergency legislation.

The measure in the Coronavirus (Scotland) (No. 2) Bill, passed on May 20, is intended to exclude “those who seek to minimize their tax arrangements to the detriment of the wider economy,” according to a Scottish government statement.

Part 11 of schedule 4 to the bill establishes that, before providing a coronavirus-related grant to a person, Scottish ministers must consider whether the person “is based [i.e., incorporated or otherwise established] in a tax haven; is the subsidiary of a person based in a tax haven; has a subsidiary based in a tax haven; or is party to an arrangement under which any of its profits are subject to the tax regime of a tax haven.” In those circumstances, the ministers “are not to provide the grant.” The measure is set to expire at the end of September.

“Tax haven” for this purpose means a jurisdiction included for the time being in the revised EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions.

My news story for Tax Notes, May 21 (free to view):

Scotland Bans COVID-19 Grants for Tax Haven Companies