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Contributions to Tax Notes, November 2019

U.K. Conservatives Pledge ‘Triple Tax Lock’

A pledge not to increase rates of income tax, National Insurance, or VAT is a constraint that a Conservative government may come to regret, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

Returning a Conservative government with a working majority is the only way to “get Brexit done,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said as he launched the Conservative and Unionist Party’s election manifesto, alongside a costings document, in Telford November 24. The December 12 general election was called after EU-27 leaders extended the article 50 period to January 31, 2020.

According to the manifesto, the “tax guarantee” will protect the incomes of “hard-working families” across the next Parliament. Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid tweeted November 23 that he was “proud to commit to a Triple Tax Lock.” But in a November 24 statement, Institute for Fiscal Studies Director Paul Johnson said the pledge is “part of a fundamentally damaging narrative — that we can have the public services we want, with more money for health and pensions and schools — without paying for them.”

My news story for Tax Notes (paywall), November 26, 2019:

U.K. Conservatives Pledge ‘Triple Tax Lock’

Other contributions to Tax Notes Today International during November 2019 included:

CBI Defends U.K. Business as Labour Unveils Fair Tax Program
The Labour Party said it would seek to change the culture surrounding taxation so that tax is viewed as a contribution, but most companies already manage their tax affairs responsibly, a U.K. business group said.

Labour Pledges Review of U.K. Corporate Tax Reliefs
HM Treasury will consult business groups and tax professionals in a six-month review of U.K. corporate tax reliefs if Labour wins the general election, the party said as it launched its manifesto.

Think Tank Flags U.K.’s Dependency on High-Income Taxpayers
The income tax revenue that could be raised by Labour’s planned increases is uncertain and depends on the extent to which people take steps to reduce taxable income, the Institute for Fiscal Studies said.

Johnson Postpones U.K. Corporation Tax Cut
A planned cut in the U.K. corporation tax rate to 17 percent in 2020 will be postponed in order to prioritise public spending, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced at a Confederation of British Industry conference.

Tax Body to Urge New Ministers to Act Quickly on Loan Charge
Treasury ministers in the next U.K. government should act on the recommendations of the loan charge review “within days” of their appointment in December, the Chartered Institute of Taxation said.