The autumn statement, and five tax-related bills already before the UK parliament

Nowadays the last weekend in November feels like the run-up to the annual budget. All eyes are on the autumn statement to be delivered on 3 December and “legislation day”, set for 10 December. This time, when the chancellor speaks, there will be five tax-related bills already before parliament – some of which will introduce complex and far-reaching changes – and that does not include draft legislation to be published in January for further devolution of income tax to Scotland.

Childcare Payments Bill

This bill’s second reading in the House of Lords will take place on 9 December. It introduces the “tax-free childcare” scheme to provide help with childcare costs. Tax experts have warned that the interaction with other forms of childcare support will be complex and difficult for claimants to understand.

National Insurance Contributions Bill

The House of Lords committee stage is set for 15 December. This bill is intended to simplify NICs paid by the self-employed; allow for accelerated payment notices and follower notices in relation to NIC avoidance; and introduce a targeted anti-avoidance rule.

Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill

This bill is set for its second reading in the House of Lords on 2 December. The stated aim of amendments to UK company law is to “increase transparency around who owns and controls UK companies and to deter and sanction those who hide their interest in UK companies to facilitate illegal activities or who otherwise fall short of expected standards of behaviour”. The measures include

“requiring every company to keep a register of people with significant control over the company, the abolition of bearer shares and corporate directors and the imposition of directors’ duties to shadow directors”.

Taxation of Pensions Bill

The House of Commons reports stage and third reading are scheduled for 3 December. A Treasury briefing note said this bill would implement “the most radical change to the way people take their private pensions for nearly a century”.

Wales Bill

The House of Lords has returned the bill to the Commons with amendments, some of which

“would amend the power of the National Assembly for Wales to set a single Welsh rate to be used for the purposes of calculating the Welsh basic, higher and additional rates of income tax to be paid by Welsh taxpayers. The amendments would enable the Assembly to set separate Welsh rates for the purpose of calculating each of those rates of income tax.”

I can’t mention Wales without mentioning Scotland, of course. And the Smith Commission’s recommendations, including measures to allow the Scottish Parliament almost complete control over income tax, are going to be turned into draft legislation by 25 January. It all seems a bit hasty.