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
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
The cost of decommissioning offshore oil and gas infrastructure is “highly uncertain,” and there are gaps in the UK government’s understanding of the impact of tax changes in the sector, the National Audit Office said.
My news story for Tax Notes (paywall), published January 26:
U.K. Watchdog Flags Uncertainty Over Oil and Gas Tax Reliefs
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
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn presented a motion of no confidence in the UK government after members of Parliament rejected Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal in a crushing 202-432 vote.
My news story for Tax Notes (paywall), published January 16:
U.K. Government Faces No-Confidence Vote After Brexit Defeat
Prime Minister Theresa May urged members of Parliament to give her Brexit deal a second look, while Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said “assurances” over the Irish backstop were “nothing but warm words and aspirations.”
My news story for Tax Notes (paywall), published January 15:
May’s Critics Reject ‘Assurances’ Over Brexit Backstop
Brexit dominates the political agenda, but it is by no means the only issue on tax professionals’ minds. Some of the challenges facing tax advisers were addressed by the House of Lords economic affairs committee in December. The committee’s report is essential reading for policymakers.
Concerns expresses by nine tax specialists in my article for a Tolley Tax supplement (not available online) to the January 2019 edition of Tax Adviser included the complexity of tax law, the impact of automation, the quality of HMRC’s service, and the department’s approach to avoidance and evasion.
Theresa May spoke to EU leaders over Christmas to seek “further reassurances” to shore up her Brexit deal, while Jean-Claude Juncker appealed for clarity about future EU-UK relations.
My news story (paywall) for Tax Notes, January 2:
May Seeks EU Leaders’ Assurances Ahead of Brexit Vote
Tax Notes published (paywall) the following articles in the week of December 24:
VAT Issues Need to Be Addressed in Brexit Talks, MPs Say
A significant reduction in the VAT registration threshold may be imposed on U.K. businesses if a new EU VAT directive takes effect during the proposed Brexit transitional period, a House of Commons committee said.
MPs Seek Finance Bill Change to Steer Brexit Debate
As the U.K. government ramps up preparations for a no-deal Brexit, members of Parliament hope to use a finance bill amendment to force the government to seek Parliament’s consent to such an outcome.
Tax Notes published (paywall) the following articles in the week of December 17:
U.K. DST Not Intended to Resolve Business Rates Issue
There is no formal link between a digital services tax and reductions in business rates, members of Parliament were told two days after they asked Amazon UK to disclose its U.K. sales and tax liabilities.
U.K. Business Groups Urge MPs to Prevent Disorderly Brexit
There is not enough time to prevent “severe dislocation and disruption” in a no-deal Brexit, five U.K. business groups said as they urged members of Parliament to prevent a disorderly exit March 29, 2019.
U.K. Steps Up No-Deal Brexit Plans Amid Anger Over Vote Delay
Cabinet ministers decided to step up preparations for a no-deal Brexit, as U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May’s critics denounced her decision to defer a vote on the EU withdrawal agreement until mid-January.
U.K. Tax and Employment Rights Plan Draws Lukewarm Response
Aligning the existing employment status frameworks for tax and employment rights purposes will be difficult if the government continues to rule out changes to national insurance contributions, U.K. tax professionals said.
Juncker Seeks to Lower Temperature After Fraught Brexit Talks
U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May maintained that she is still seeking “further assurances” about the proposed Northern Ireland backstop, after EU-27 leaders reiterated that the Brexit deal is “not open for renegotiation.”