The Chartered Institute of Taxation has warned that “tinkering constantly with rates and allowances in unexpected ways” undermines stability and certainty and reduces international competitiveness. Several changes to tax allowances for businesses are “quietly working their way through Parliament” in the finance bill, the CIOT noted. Taxpayers do not welcome surprise changes and find them disruptive, it said.
My news story for Tax Notes (paywall), December 8: https://www.taxnotes.com/worldwide-tax-daily/tax-policy/tinkering-uk-tax-reliefs-undermines-stability-ciot-says/2018/12/10/28nvq
A House of Lords committee called for a review of the powers available to HM Revenue & Customs, arguing that some powers granted since 2012 are disproportionate and lack effective safeguards for taxpayers.
“HMRC is right to tackle tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance. However, a careful balance must be struck between clamping down and treating taxpayers fairly. Our evidence has convinced us that this balance has tipped too far in favour of HMRC and against the fundamental protections every taxpayer should expect,” said Lord Forsyth, chair of the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee.
My news story for Tax Notes (paywall), December 4: https://www.taxnotes.com/worldwide-tax-daily/tax-policy/peers-call-review-disproportionate-hmrc-powers/2018/12/04/28n75
This story was also published in the December 10 edition of Tax Notes International.
A House of Commons committee has highlighted concerns about the level of Brexit preparedness at the UK border, telling officials it is “alarming that so little planning has been undertaken” for Northern Ireland.
My news story for Tax Notes (paywall), December 7*:
Other Brexit stories published in the week ending December 7:
Brexit advice vindicates opposition to backstop, Unionists say (December 6*)
Contempt vote forces publication of Brexit legal advice (December 5)
Advocate General’s opinion boosts anti-Brexit campaign (December 5*)
*These stories were also published in the December 10 edition of Tax Notes International.
The Brexit deal awaiting ratification by UK lawmakers is the only possible deal, but the EU is prepared for the UK to remain a member, European Council President Donald Tusk said.
It is becoming clearer that the deal approved by EU leaders is “the best possible — in fact, the only possible one,” Tusk said November 30 at the G-20 summit in Buenos Aires.
My news story for Worldwide Tax Daily, published by Tax Analysts on November 29 (paywall). This story was also published in the December 10 edition of Tax Notes International: EU Is Prepared for ‘No Brexit,’ Tusk Says
Prime Minister Theresa May insisted that the UK would be “better off” under her Brexit deal, even after a government analysis suggested that the economy could be 3.9 percent smaller compared with staying in the EU.
A no-deal Brexit could result in a 9.3 percent reduction in GDP after 15 years, according to the analysis published on November 28. May appears to be facing defeat on December 11, when members of Parliament will vote on the deal agreed upon by EU leaders November 25.
My news story for Worldwide Tax Daily, published by Tax Analysts on November 29 (paywall). This story was also published in the December 3 edition of Tax Notes International: May Unmoved by Government’s Brexit Impact Assessment
The government dismissed calls for members of Parliament scrutinising finance bills to be allowed to question tax experts, despite one MP’s claim that “the tax code has increased massively” in recent years.
“There is a huge volume of tax legislation and lots of it is incredibly technical,” Kirsty Blackman, Scottish National Party MP for Aberdeen North, told a House of Commons public bill committee as it began examining the 315-page finance bill in two sessions on November 27.
My news story for Worldwide Tax Daily, published by Tax Analysts on November 29 (paywall):
U.K. Government Rejects Finance Bill Scrutiny Concerns
The Office of Tax Simplification wants to know about the everyday experience of smaller businesses, including the self-employed, and especially those who “struggle with tax”.
In a consultation that closes on December 7, the OTS invites responses to an online survey as well as a more detailed call for evidence. “The inherent complexity and challenges faced by smaller businesses in their everyday affairs means that some find tax and other regulatory requirements difficult to manage,” it said.
The OTS wants to hear from businesses and their advisers about which parts of the system are most complex and “hard to get right”, and invites suggestions for improvement.
Proposed 12-year time limits for assessment of tax on offshore income and gains are unnecessarily burdensome and should be withdrawn from the finance bill, peers have told Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond.
My news story for Worldwide Tax Daily, published by Tax Analysts on November 9 (paywall):
U.K. Peers Urge Hammond to Drop Proposed 12-Year Time Limits
Too many of the measures in a new 315-page finance bill have not been subject to consultation, and a tight timetable adds to a “scrutiny deficit,” according to UK tax professionals.
The House of Commons is scheduled to debate the bill on November 12. As the House is currently in a short recess, most members of Parliament “will not be able to get their hands on a hard copy” until the day of the debate, said Glyn Fullelove, chair of the Chartered Institute of Taxation’s Technical Committee.
Fullelove noted that “just 37 of the 90 substantive clauses in the bill, and 12 of the 19 lengthy schedules,” were included in a draft bill published for consultation in July. My news story for Worldwide Tax Daily, published by Tax Analysts on November 8 (paywall):
U.K. Finance Bill Prompts ‘Scrutiny Deficit’ Warning
A tax barrister told a House of Lords committee that the finance bill to be published on November 7 should be used to repeal a controversial tax charge on disguised remuneration.
The legislation “goes for the person who is least able to defend himself or herself, [and is] attacking the worker, not anyone else in the chain”, Keith Gordon of Temple Tax Chambers told the Economic Affairs Finance Bill Subcommittee on October 17.
“I find it extremely worrying that the legislation has been able to get on to the statute book,” he said.
The government has defended the charge and said HMRC “will only go to the employee to settle their income tax liability in cases where it cannot reasonably be collected from the employer – for example, where the employer is no longer in existence”.
My news story for Tax Notes (paywall), published on October 19, is now reproduced in full with permission:
UK tax barrister calls for repeal of controversial loan charge
As I reported on October 29 (paywall) Mel Stride, financial secretary to the Treasury, has declined to appear before the subcommittee, which is examining the loan charge as part of its review of HMRC powers.