By Kathryn Bishop, Chair, Welsh Revenue Authority.
On 18 October last year, the Welsh Government officially established the WRA as the body responsible for managing and collecting Land Transaction Tax and Landfill Disposals Tax. This was marked by the attendance of the Cabinet Secretary for Finance at our inaugural board meeting.
Last month, we welcomed the return of the Cabinet Secretary for Finance to our board meeting - exactly a year to the day we first met as the WRA board - to discuss what we have achieved so far, and what lies ahead.
In establishing the WRA, we worked in partnership with colleagues across Welsh Government and wider Civil Service departments and with a wide-range of external partners. It took a 2-year implementation programme to ensure that we, as a team, were ready from 1 April 2018 to administer the first Welsh taxes in 800 years.
When meeting a major milestone like this one, it’s often easy to focus on what remains to be done. But this is an opportunity to reflect on some of what has been achieved so far:
- By 1 April, more than 1,000 legal organisations and 17 landfill site operators had registered to file tax.
- By July, we published our first official quarterly statistics, with more than £47 million tax due.
- In September, we were shortlisted for an award with digital partners for the development of the new digital tax system.
None of this has been easy and we are grateful to our many stakeholders for their continuing support. It has also required vision, dedication, hard work and, most importantly, a will to do things differently.
Earlier this year, the Welsh Government’s Permanent Secretary, Shan Morgan, described the WRA as a ‘centre for excellence’. We take great pride in exploring innovative ways to administer tax and we are committed to working in partnership with other public sector organisations to share this innovation for the benefit of Wales.
All of us on the WRA’s Board are honoured and proud to have been part of this historic journey so far. We are now focused on building the WRA’s future, as an innovative organisation which is helping to support communities throughout Wales.