May to seek ‘binding changes’ as MPs oppose no-deal Brexit

Prime Minister Theresa May declared that she will seek “legally binding changes” to her Brexit deal after members of Parliament voted to back a new proposal to replace the Northern Ireland backstop.

But a spokesman for European Council President Donald Tusk told reporters, in response to a series of House of Commons votes late on January 29, that “the backstop is part of the withdrawal agreement, and the withdrawal agreement is not open for renegotiation”.

My news story for Tax Notes (paywall), published January 30, also published in the February 4 edition of Tax Notes International:

May to Seek ‘Binding Changes’ as MPs Oppose No-Deal Brexit

UK firms ‘praying’ for more time to plan for Brexit

Planning for a no-deal Brexit among larger businesses is “highly variable,” but prudent firms will keep preparing so long as such an outcome “remains an option,” said James Stewart, head of Brexit at KPMG UK.

“Many of the businesses we’re speaking to are praying for an extension to article 50,” Stewart said in a January 28 statement. “At this stage even our most informed clients feel as if anything could happen. They’re thinking about getting products from A to B, market access, and staffing up situation rooms for April,” he said, adding that there are “no safe bets.” My news story for Tax Notes (paywall), published January 29:

U.K. Firms ‘Praying’ for More Time to Plan for Brexit

HMRC defends devolution record amid tax code error reports

HM Revenue & Customs defended its implementation of devolved income tax rates as tax professionals reported errors in the identification of Scottish taxpayers.

HMRC was unable to provide the National Audit Office with an action plan for the implementation of Welsh income tax, setting out “lessons learned” from the earlier implementation of Scottish income tax, the NAO said in a January 24 report. The plan was drawn up after a July 2017 event attended by HMRC staff involved in the Scottish project…

My news story for Tax Notes (free to view), published January 25:

HMRC Defends Devolution Record Amid Tax Code Error Reports

Business leaders vent frustration ahead of Brexit vote

A no-deal Brexit cannot be “managed” and is “certainly not desirable,” said Carolyn Fairbairn, Confederation of British Industry director general, as business leaders expressed frustration over the continued political impasse.

“The responsibility to ensure an orderly exit is now in Parliament’s hands. Each MP is democratically chosen to safeguard the security and prosperity of our country. And next week they face a test. If they meet it with yet more brinkmanship, the whole country could face a no-deal, disorderly Brexit. The economic consequences would be profound, widespread, and lasting,” Fairbairn told a business audience in Bristol January 11…

My news story for Tax Notes (paywall), published January 12:

U.K. Business Leaders Vent Frustration Ahead of Brexit Vote

Other stories published in week of January 7:

Labour Leader Prioritizes Election and a New Brexit Deal

MPs Vote to Tighten Grip on Brexit Process

‘Stormont Lock’ Fails to Win DUP Support for Brexit Backstop

 

May urged to rule out no-deal Brexit after finance bill defeat

The UK Parliament’s vote to restrict a new Treasury power to make tax regulations shows its determination to prevent a “chaotic and damaging” no-deal Brexit, said Labour member of Parliament Yvette Cooper. My news story (paywall) for Tax Notes, January 9:

May Urged to Rule Out No-Deal Brexit After Finance Bill Defeat