Media and politics

The Scottish Parliament has confirmed the rates and thresholds for income tax that will apply to the non-savings and non-dividend income of Scottish taxpayers from 6 April 2017. We take a look at some of the effects.

There is a touch of the counsel of despair in Bill Gates’ suggestion that robots should ‘pay’ income tax when they replace work done by humans and the extra money used to retrain people that robots have replaced. But the attempt by Gates to link taxation to a long term problem in society is to be welcomed.

The Finance Bill Sub-Committee of the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee produces (usually) just one report a year – on the aspects of the draft Finance Bill that it thinks most warrant scrutiny. This year the sub-committee has decided to focus entirely on Making Tax Digital (MTD) and the draft legislation that will apply to small businesses and residential landlords.

MPs have passed the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill. While the focus of the debate was on constitutional questions, tax and related issues were occasionally touched on during the proceedings.

It may not have been part of the formal budget process, but the stalemate that followed Wednesday’s Labour-led debate on the Scottish Government’s tax and spending proposals for 2017-18 was emblematic of the challenges parliament must overcome if it is to pass a budget bill in time for the new financial year.

To reduce complexity, cut down costly errors and create a more stable, predictable environment for taxpayers, the Government must change the way it makes tax and budget decisions, argues a new report from CIOT and two other institutes.

Is it right that a company with high sales but no profits pays no corporation tax? This was a question raised repeatedly in relation to the taxation of foreign multinationals with sales here in the UK. The question, debated in places such as the Public Accounts Committee, has led to proposed reforms by the OECD, that have been accepted by the G20 and many others, in corporate tax regimes around the world in relation to how profits are calculated and allocated to activity.  But the issue is more fundamental than the international rules – it is more about the role and purpose of corporation tax. 

As Donald Trump’s inauguration day (January 20) approaches, many UK businesses which have invested in the US are awaiting further details on his tax plans, particularly those affecting multi-national businesses. In my blog on 15 November, I discussed how his proposals might affect the cash piles of US based multi-nationals; but what do they mean for UK based groups with large US subsidiaries? 

Rt. Hon. Andrew Tyrie MP, Chairman of the Treasury Select Committee, has written to John Cullinane, Tax Policy Director of CIOT, setting out his proposals for strengthening scrutiny of the Finance Bill.

The CIOT congratulates Emma Chamberlain on her OBE for services to government tax policy, which was announced in the new year honours last weekend.