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After the 2014 conferences (10): Green Party - wealth and resource use targeted
17 December 2014

This is the tenth and final article of a series of blog articles looking at what we know about the direction of tax policy following this year’s political party conference season. While most other articles in this series have been thematic this one looks at the policies of the Green Party specifically.The CIOT is strictly politically neutral and nothing in this article should be interpreted as endorsement for or opposition to any of the policies mentioned.

Green Party (conference 5th – 8th September)

Green Party leader Natalie Bennett announced a wealth tax on the richest 1% at her party’s conference as part of the Greens’ ‘progressive policy’ agenda. The party is calling for a charge of between 1-2% on wealth over £3 million which it thinks would raise between £23 billion and £43 billion. A party briefing states: “An individual with assets of £3 million would pay between £30,000 and £60,000 a year as a result of our Wealth Tax. Most people with assets at this level will have sufficient income to pay the wealth tax from their current income. A very few people will have perhaps a very low income and a single rather illiquid asset, such as a house. Arrangements could be made in such cases to pay any accumulated wealth tax when the house is eventually sold, usually on the death of the owner.”

The Green Party also supports a variety of policies to reduce the gap in earnings between those at the top and those at the bottom. These include a new higher rate of income tax at 50% for incomes above £100,000 per annum, as well as a living wage and company-wide maximum pay ratios to ensure a CEO gets no more than 10 times the salary of the lowest paid employee.

Underlying the party’s tax policies is their support for a ‘Citizen's Income’, essentially a universal benefit “sufficient to cover an individual's basic needs… which will replace tax-free allowances and most social security benefits. A Citizen's Income is an unconditional, non-withdrawable income payable to each individual as a right of citizenship. It would not be subject to means testing and there will be no requirement to be either working or actively seeking work.” Personal tax-free allowances would be abolished, having effectively been replaced by the Citizen's Income. Income Tax would be levied on all income above the Citizen's Income. Capital Gains Tax exemptions / thresholds would also be removed with the exception of a person's only or main home which would continue to be exempt. Capital gains would be added into a person's income for a tax year and be subject to Income Tax in the normal way. Similarly capital losses would be used to reduce a person's taxable income. Inheritance Tax would be reformed so that it is calculated on a "recipient basis". It would also be extended to include gifts made during a donor's lifetime, rather than just those given as inheritances on death, therefore becoming an accessions tax.

Businesses engaged in tax avoidance and evasion were labelled ‘parasites’ by Natalie Bennett in her party conference speech. She said that the Green Party offered “concrete, clear action, such as the country by country reporting in [Green MP] Caroline Lucas’s Tax and Financial Transparency Bill. We say that if you do business here, get profits here, you should pay taxes here.” There were no specifics beyond this, though the party has existing policy of banding corporation tax, with higher rates payable by larger companies in order to encourage smaller businesses, and closing loopholes “so that company profits earned in the UK were taxed here, even where this would mean that profits of trans-national corporations may be taxed twice - once in the UK and again in a foreign country.” In November Bennett said enforced taxation on multinational companies would be used to increase support for higher education.

The Greens want to phase out VAT and replace it with a system of eco-taxes. They argue VAT is regressive, bureaucratic and a severe burden on small businesses. The eco-taxes replacing it would target specific products, production methods, resources used and pollutants produced in order to discourage ecologically unsustainable consumption. The party would also introduce a system of Land Value Taxation to replace the Council Tax and the National Non-Domestic Business Rates.

The Greens want to allow local councils to impose extra business rates on out-of-town supermarkets, allowing them to use the money to support local businesses.

George Crozier
CIOT Head of External Relations
Wednesday 17 December 2014

Media and Politics
 
After the 2014 conferences (9): UKIP - insurgent party plans radical reform
16 December 2014

This is the ninth of a series of blog articles looking at what we know about the direction of tax policy following this year’s political party conference season. While the other articles in this series have been thematic this one looks specifically at the policies of the UK Independence Party. The CIOT is strictly politically neutral and nothing in this article should be interpreted as endorsement for or opposition to any of the policies mentioned.

United Kingdom Independence Party (conference 26th – 27th September)

UKIP said at its conference that it would cut income tax from 40p to 35p for people earning up to £55,000. Under UKIP's plans, everyone earning between about £44,000 and £55,000 would pay income tax at 35p. Those earning more will pay 40p, with the additional rate scrapped. UKIP also promised to raise to £13,500 the amount people can earn before paying any income tax. Party economic spokesman Patrick O’Flynn said that, in time, the party would like to go further: “An eventual tax structure of a personal allowance at the level of the full-time minimum wage, followed by a 20p standard rate, a 30p intermediate rate and a 40p top rate would be simpler, flatter and in my view compatible with both a dynamic economy and a fair society.”

The party has dropped its commitment to a flat tax. Party leader Nigel Farage has confirmed that UKIP are not likely to repeat their 2010 manifesto pledge to merge employee’s national insurance with income tax at a flat rate of 31 per cent.

UKIP would abolish inheritance tax. The party website explains: “Inheritance tax brings in under £4bn - less than a third of what we spend on foreign aid. The super-rich avoid it, while modest property owners get caught by it. It hits people during a time of grief and UKIP will budget in its 2015 spending plans to completely abolish this unfair death tax.” UKIP has also pledged to abolish all green taxes. They would develop shale gas to cut energy bills and place the subsequent revenue into a ‘British Sovereign Wealth Fund’.

Where would UKIP find the money to make these tax cuts? The party believes leaving the EU would save at least £8bn pa in net contributions. The party would also make savings from the foreign aid budget (£9bn pa), scrapping HS2, abolishing the Department of Energy and Climate Change (while scrapping green subsidies) and Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and reducing Barnett Formula spending (giving devolved parliaments and assemblies further tax powers to compensate).

The party proposes that “a Treasury Commission, using the best brains of that elite Whitehall department, be set up to design a turnover tax for large businesses. Every major company would have to show it had paid a set proportion of its turnover in corporation and other taxes or would face an additional charge to bring it up to the minimum. This would work as a back stop for the tax system and ensure that every big company pays a fair share of tax.” A Conservative Party critic of the policy described it as: “Essentially, a tax on unprofitable businesses – hardly an enterprise-friendly environment or an encouragement to invest in the UK.”

Also announced at the party conference was a proposal for a higher rate of VAT on luxury goods such as shoes, handbags and sports cars, dubbed the ‘WAG’ (as in footballers’ wives and girlfriends) tax. However within 48 hours Nigel Farage had declared the proposal ‘dead’. He told an interviewer: “I am very happy to give the freedom to our spokesmen and spokeswomen to float ideas but I'm pretty certain that while I'm leader that will not be in our manifesto. As far as I am concerned it's dead.” Alongside rowing back from the ‘flat tax’ proposal this illustrates some of the challenges UKIP is facing in keeping its mostly small state, right of centre activist base happy while developing its appeal to a more left of centre working class electorate in many areas.

Last week UKIP unveiled what has been dubbed a ‘mansion-tax break’. The party would exempt historic properties from VAT at 20 per cent on their building work. It would be replaced with a rate of 5 per cent. The party took flak when journalists highlighted how some of the party’s biggest donors could benefit from it. A UKIP spokesman argued that the tax cut would help thatchers, stone masons and carpenters, and said many owners of listed properties are not wealthy.

George Crozier
CIOT Head of External Relations
Tuesday 16 December 2014

Media and Politics
 
After the 2014 conferences (8): SNP and Plaid Cymru - full speed ahead for federalism?
15 December 2014

This is the eighth of a series of blog articles looking at what we know about the direction of tax policy following this year’s political party conference season. While the other articles in this series have been thematic this one looks at the policies of the SNP and Plaid Cymru.The CIOT is strictly politically neutral and nothing in this article should be interpreted as endorsement for or opposition to any of the policies mentioned.


Scottish National Party (conference 14th – 15th November)

Referendum result notwithstanding, the SNP continue to call for the Scottish Parliament to have full control over tax and fiscal policy. This includes control over not only income tax but national insurance, corporation tax, capital gains tax, fuel duty, air passenger duty and inheritance tax. The party has quoted polling showing seven out of ten Scots favour the Scottish Parliament having control of all taxation raised in Scotland.

The SNP reacted with disappointment to the report of the Smith Commission into further devolution at the end of November. Finance Secretary John Swinney claimed the UK parties’ pre-referendum vow of substantial devolution “has simply not been delivered”. He did welcome the devolution of air passenger duty, more extensive power over income tax and a range of benefits, among other things. He promised the SNP would take a constructive approach to implementing the Smith proposals: “Whilst the Commission may not have given us all the tools we want and for which we will continue to argue, we in the Scottish Government stand ready to play our part, and we now look forward to the next steps in Scotland’s journey.” Some SNP members take a stronger stance – three councillors posted footage online of themselves burning a copy of Lord Smith’s report to show the contempt in which they held it; the party leadership responded by suspending them from the party.

The SNP Government recently announced the rates for Scotland’s new property tax, the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT), taking criticism for the scale of increases on the most expensive properties (a 10 per cent levy on the purchase price over £250,000). It was announced that buyers of residential property worth less than £325,000 would pay less than under the current system (Stamp Duty Land Tax) and buyers of property worth more than £325,000 would pay more, once the new tax comes into effect in April 2015. However, the reforms to SDLT announced by George Osborne in the Autumn Statement, which cut the tax for 98 per cent of house sales, and which took immediate effect, including for Scotland, change the economics. Anyone buying a house at a value of £254,000 or above now has an incentive to buy before LBTT comes into effect in April. While Osborne’s reforms are at one level a form of flattery, imitating the Scottish Government’s scrapping of the slab structure, cutting the tax take by £800 million has allowed Osborne to make the Scottish revenue-neutral reforms look distinctly ungenerous. For example a buyer of a house worth £350,000 will pay about £5,000 more in tax north of the border.

Tensions between Westminster and Holyrood were further inflamed when George Osborne announced, in the Autumn Statement, that he intended to devolve corporation tax to Northern Ireland but not Scotland. John Swinney said that there was “absolutely no good reason” why Scotland should not have the power to adjust corporation tax in the interests of growing its economy. The Westminster Government argues that Northern Ireland is distinguished from Scotland by virtue of being in direct competition with a neighbouring state, the Irish Republic, which has an exceptionally low rate of corporation tax.

The SNP have revealed that their manifesto for the 2015 UK General Election will include proposals for a 10p a gallon cut in fuel duty and an income tax increase for those earning more than £100,000 per annum, as well as a pledge to transfer control of corporation tax to Holyrood. The manifesto will also contain a commitment to deliver more welfare powers on top of those recommended by the Smith Commission, including powers over tax credits. The manifesto is expected to restate the SNP’s belief in independence, but not to contain a commitment for another referendum.

The SNP’s 2015 manifesto is also expected to propose the devolution of the income tax personal allowance, arguing it would give Holyrood the power to increase the money in workers’ pockets. The party’s opponents, however, argue that the Smith Commission’s proposal to devolve all income tax bands and rates would give a Scottish Government the power to manipulate the tax system to achieve the same effect. Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie said: “The Scottish Parliament will have the power to cut tax by putting the personal allowance up through a new zero rate. The parliament would only be prevented from cutting the allowance and increasing income tax.”

Some light has been cast upon the approach the SNP will take in the event of the 2015 general election producing a hung Parliament. New party leader and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon stated in her party conference speech: "My aim is that the SNP wins the General Election in Scotland, and there is every prospect of a hung parliament at Westminster. The SNP would never act to put the Tories in power. In these circumstances, our constructive approach is that the SNP will seek common cause in a balanced parliament with progressive forces across the regions of England, Wales and Northern Ireland to rebalance the UK in political and economic terms.” Recent polls have shown the SNP with a staggering lead of 20-30 per cent over Labour, which would give the party more than 50 of Scotland’s 59 Westminster constituencies (compared to just six at the moment).

The SNP, Plaid Cymru and the Green Party are working increasingly closely together. Nicola Sturgeon, Plaid leader Leanne Wood and Green Party leader Natalie Bennett held talks today (Monday 15 December) in London to discuss their strategy for the coming months.

Plaid Cymru (conference 24th – 25th October)

Wales’s nationalist party Plaid Cymru enthusiastically welcomed amendments from the UK Government to the Wales Bill to devolve to future Welsh governments more flexible income tax- varying powers (removing the ‘lock step’ which requires all rates to change by the same amount). . The green light for the proposals will be dependent on a referendum. However Plaid Treasury spokesman Jonathan Edwards MP has argued that no referendum should be needed, and warned it would fail to generate the levels of enthusiasm and engagement seen in Scotland. Asked about Plaid’s demands in post-hung Parliament negotiations the party’s Westminster leader Elfyn Llwyd put “moving on taxation without a referendum” at the top of his list, followed by a better deal on the Barnett formula, which is widely believed (not only in Wales) to give Wales a raw deal.

More broadly Plaid argues that Wales should have the same tax powers as Scotland, and has had significant success in winning other parties in Wales over to this position. Immediately after the party conferences a perhaps surprisingly strong joint motion on devolution was agreed by the leaders of Labour, Conservatives, Plaid Cymru and Liberal Democrats in the Welsh Assembly. The parties agreed that a future Welsh Government should have the same powers as Scotland, including control of air passenger duty and corporation tax if that is devolved to Scotland and Northern Ireland. The leaders called for talks between the governments in Cardiff and Westminster to begin immediately and be concluded by the beginning of 2015, and for proposals to be published before the general election.

In her conference speech Plaid leader Leanne Wood argued for the Welsh Assembly to have the power – similar to that currently available in Canada – to offer tax breaks to pension funds prepared to invest in their own communities. She noted that public sector pension funds in Wales have £6 billion in assets, hardly any of which is invested in Wales. “Investing 2 or 3% of our own workers assets in Wales would help transform the Welsh economy,” she said.

George Crozier
CIOT Head of External Relations
Monday 15 December 2014

Media and Politics
 
After the 2014 conferences (7): Devolving taxes - Change on the way
24 November 2014

This is the seventh of a short series of blog articles looking at what we know about the direction of tax policy following this year’s political party conference season. The CIOT is strictly politically neutral and nothing in this article should be interpreted as endorsement for or opposition to any of the policies mentioned.

The challenge of balancing the freedom to set different tax rates and create incentives while avoiding both a ‘race to the bottom’ and the provision of opportunities for avoidance is not only an issue for international tax negotiations; it is at the heart of the debate around the devolution of taxes within the UK.

Beginning just two days after the Scottish independence referendum, issues around the devolution of powers within the UK caused a significant amount of awkwardness at Labour’s conference. Labour are the least enthusiastic of the three main UK parties for tax devolution, their latest policy document recognising the risks of both competitive tax cutting between different jurisdictions, and that devolution of powers could make redistributive policies more difficult. In his leader’s speech, Ed Miliband tried to push the ‘English question’ into the middle distance with a proposal for a constitutional convention. There were calls from all parts of the party for devolution to city and county regions within England.

Scottish Conservative leader, Ruth Davidson MSP, committed her party to the devolution of greater income tax raising powers north of the border as a key platform for the 2016 elections; the Scotland Act 2012 currently allows Holyrood to increase/decrease the income tax rate by 10%. Party representatives are currently engaging on devolution via the Smith Commission, which is due to publish proposals in November. The conference also saw David Cameron strengthen his commitment to legislating to prevent Scottish MPs from voting at Westminster on devolved issues (including any elements of the tax system devolved to the Scottish Parliament), stating: “This is my vow: English votes for English laws – the Conservatives will deliver it.”

At Lib Dem conference in Glasgow Scottish Secretary Alastair Carmichael set out a vision of “a Scotland that raises the majority of its own revenues, that can borrow, tax and spend to meet Scotland’s priorities, and have the freedom to innovate and reform as never before.” He said that vision, as set out in the report of Ming Campbell’s Commission, would be the party’s contribution to the Smith Commission. Lib Dem policy, as set out in the Campbell Commission, is in favour of devolving not just further income tax powers but also inheritance tax and capital gains tax to Scotland, as well as assigning corporation tax receipts generated in Scotland.

The Scottish National Party's support for the Scottish Parliament having full control over tax and fiscal policy remains full-throated. This includes control over income tax, national insurance, corporation tax, capital gains tax, fuel duty, air passenger duty and inheritance tax. The SNP Government recently announced the rates for Scotland’s new property tax, the Land and Buildings Transaction Tax, and faced criticism for substantially increasing the amount of tax payable by buyers of the most expensive properties, with some labelling it a Scottish ‘mansion tax’.

At Conservative conference, Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb announced a plan for more flexible income tax-varying powers for Cardiff. Under the previous plans, if the Welsh government wanted to cut the basic rate by 1p, all other rates of income tax would also have to be cut by 1p. Removing the much criticised “lockstep” system means that Wales could vary income tax rates without ensuring all income tax bands change by the same amount. The green light for the proposals will be dependent on a referendum. They appear in the Wales Bill, currently on its way through the UK Parliament, which will also devolve stamp duty land tax and landfill tax, with a target date of April 2018.

Plaid Cymru welcomed the announcement of additional powers. The party argues that Wales should have the same tax powers as Scotland. Immediately after the party conferences a perhaps surprisingly strong joint motion on devolution was agreed by the leaders of Labour, Conservatives, Plaid Cymru and Liberal Democrats in the Welsh Assembly. The parties agreed that a future Welsh Government should have the same powers as Scotland, including control of air passenger duty and corporation tax if that is devolved to Scotland and Northern Ireland. The leaders call for talks between the governments in Cardiff and Westminster to begin immediately and be concluded by the beginning of 2015, and for proposals to be published before the general election.

The UK Government is currently mulling over whether corporation tax (CT) powers should be devolved to Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers told a Conservative conference event that Stormont (the Northern Ireland Assembly) “needs to be in the best possible shape if it is to take on such a significant fiscal devolution." She said it was hard to see how the Northern Ireland Executive could fund a CT cut whilst there was an ongoing impasse over welfare reform. A decision is widely expected alongside the Autumn Statement. All of Northern Ireland's main business organisations and the Executive parties agree are supportive in principle of devolving the power though there is some trepidation about the initial loss of revenue. It was notable that both Conservative and Liberal Democrat ministers were keen during the conference season to mark out Northern Ireland as a special case with regards to CT devolution because of its land border with the Irish Republic. Northern Ireland may well get the right to set its own CT rate but this is unlikely to be extended to other parts of the UK.

George Crozier
CIOT Head of External Relations
Monday 24 November 2014

Media and Politics
 
After the 2014 conferences (6): International business taxation - Multinationals under pressure
19 November 2014

This is the sixth of a short series of blog articles looking at what we know about the direction of tax policy following this year’s political party conference season. The CIOT is strictly politically neutral and nothing in this article should be interpreted as endorsement for or opposition to any of the policies mentioned.

Quiz time. Which leading politician said this: “We have all read about large multinational companies that have chosen to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. For many years, a small minority have flitted between tax havens, paying little or nothing anywhere. A message to those global companies: We have cut your taxes – now you must pay what you owe.”

It is a sign of the remarkable unity of purpose between the parties over the need to find ways to extract more tax from multinational corporations – especially those based around the internet – that it could be equally easily be a spokesman from any of the main parties. In fact it is a composite – the first sentence was Ed Balls, the second Danny Alexander and the third David Cameron.

A combination of huge media attention, intense political scrutiny (especially by the Public Accounts Committee) and the campaigning of groups such as Christian Aid has put the tax policies of multinationals at the top of the political agenda and – polls have shown – made them a concern to voters across the board, regardless of political affiliation. So it is unsurprising that, in cash-strapped times, all parties are straining to persuade voters of their determination to squeeze more revenue out of this source. The OECD’s work on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) is still ongoing but it is clear the politicians are keen to be seen to be acting with due urgency, especially with an election on the horizon.

Consequently both parties of government had announcements to make of proposals that will appear in the Autumn Statement. Despite no explicit mention of the company, an announcement by George Osborne of a move to clamp down on multinational tax avoidance by, in particular, technology companies, has been widely christened the ‘Google tax’. Government advisers briefed that they are attempting to crack down on a particular avoidance technique, the ‘double Irish’, where companies collect profits in jurisdictions with substantially lower tax rates than where the majority of their profits are made. The Government have indicated they will publish legislative proposals at the Autumn Statement which would force multinationals to pay UK taxes on UK profits. Asked why this had not been done sooner, The Guardian reports a ‘source close to Osborne’ as saying introducing changes earlier may have ‘scared’ companies away from the UK and the country could have lost them as big employers, but the tide of global public opinion had now changed.

The Liberal Democrats also had action to announce aimed at tackling perceived tax avoidance by multinationals. Danny Alexander said: “Our government has led the way in a global movement to rewrite the tax code. That work is nearing completion, and I can tell you Britain will be one of the first countries to put the new rules into action. This December, we will take the first steps with new rules to stop firms lending money across borders just to minimise tax.” Alexander announced that the Government’s action would stop hybrid mismatches: “This could yield hundreds of millions of pounds and it will put Britain in the lead with the first of many steps to implement the new global tax rules.”

Transparency and tackling international avoidance remain central to Labour’s tax policies. These were fleshed out a little in the party’s business tax paper, published in June, and in the report presented to the conference by the party’s Stability and Prosperity Policy Commission, co-chaired by Ed Balls. They include:
• Prioritise increasing transparency in the Crown Dependencies and overseas territories, including requiring UK tax havens to reveal the identity of British tax evaders;
• “Fundamental reform” of the international corporate tax system to develop a system which is robust and effective in the modern world, which supports investment and job creation, and deals effectively with the complexities of international business;
• Consider how greater transparency around revenues, profits, and taxes paid could be delivered domestically if international agreement takes time to be reached;
• Examine the international lessons on how we can improve transfer pricing rules, so that the way in which companies allocate their profits for tax purposes is fair.

Labour is also under pressure from party members and trades unions to go further in its support for a Financial Transactions Tax (FTT). Gail Cartmail of the union Unite told a fringe meeting that the FTT would be good for solidarity and would help end ‘casino capitalism’. Shadow treasury minister Catherine McKinnell responded that Labour actively supports the tax but would not rush into it. She said the FTT was not a panacea and shouldn’t be treated as such. The party’s position remains that it would only introduce an FTT if it gains sufficient international support, including specifically a commitment from the United States to introduce it at the same time. Lib Dem policy is similarly supportive in principle but goes further in requiring the tax to be adopted by all the world’s major financial centres. The Conservatives go further still, saying they would require the whole of the rest of the world to agree to introduce it at the same time.

The conference announcements were cautiously welcomed by campaigners. An ActionAid spokesman said that, if the ‘Google Tax’ was “broadly and robustly designed, it could be used to cut through the thickets of legal and accounting complexity which some big companies hide”. ActionAid joined with Christian Aid and Oxfam to once again hold fringe events at all three conferences on the theme of corporate avoidance. Speakers highlighted the extent of the anger felt by the majority of the British public (84% of voters according to one poll). Losses to the UK Exchequer were substantial (a figure of £12 billion was quoted) but, unsurprisingly given the focus of the three bodies, the impact on developing countries was given even greater attention. The three charities trailed their forthcoming campaign for a ‘Tax Dodging Bill’ which they will be running between the autumn and next May’s general election, seeking to persuade the political parties to bring in a range of measures including publication of country-by-country reporting of profits and taxes, and reform of UK corporate tax rules which they believe are overly generous to big business and in some cases harmful to poor countries. This issue is set to remain in the spotlight over the coming months.

While generally supportive of BEPS some commentators have sounded a note of caution over its potential to be a revenue-raiser for the British Government. At the CIOT’s joint fringe debate with the IFS in Birmingham Patrick Stevens, the Institute’s tax policy director, said that the UK could ultimately end up a net loser from the BEPS reforms. ITV News’ Business Editor, Joel Hills, made a similar point, saying people should remember that “Britain has multinational companies too and ultimately the likes of GSK, BP and Vodafone – registered in Britain but with large global footprints - may end up paying rather less here.”

George Crozier
CIOT Head of External Relations
Wednesday 19 November 2014

Media and Politics
 
Public Accounts Committee take HMRC to task over compliance yield figures
18 November 2014

The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee have returned to one of their favourite topics, tax compliance, in a report issued today, and widely covered in today’s newspapers (see, for example, HMRC ‘unacceptably slow’ to tackle tax avoiders, say MPs (FT) and MPs’ report on tax compliance finds HMRC to be slow to take action (Guardian)).

The report is a short one (only about nine pages of substance), and covers two areas – the reliability of HMRC’s measures for tax compliance yield, and whether the tax authorities are doing enough to tackle tax avoidance.

On the first of these at least, the report is best seen as a follow-up of the National Audit Office’s annual report on HMRC’s accounts, published in July this year. This found that while HMRC were exceeding their targets for increasing compliance yield they were not doing so by as much as had been thought. This was because they had miscalculated their baseline for compliance yield during the current Parliament, resulting in the targets they were set being nearly £2 billion too low.

A quick explanation of what happened is this. The baseline figure was for the year 2010-11. At the time it was set – November 2010 – HMRC used a forecast for expected compliance yield over the year as final figures were not available. As HMRC was making significant changes to how it calculated compliance yield this forecast had a high degree of uncertainty about it. It turned out that the actual yield from disrupting organised crime that year (£2.52 billion) was three times the estimate (£0.84 billion). Added to other smaller deviations from the forecasts it meant the baseline compliance yield for 2010-11 (£14.7 billion) was £1.9 billion lower than the actual compliance yield (£16.6 billion) that year. This wouldn’t have mattered if HMRC had updated the baseline when final figures for 2010-11 were available, but they didn’t. As it turned out HMRC exceeded the targets set for them in the years following by enough that they actually met or exceeded the targets set for them, even taking into account the miscalculated baseline. For example in 2011-12 the target was to raise compliance yield by £2 billion. On HMRC’s published figures they raised compliance yield by £3.9 billion. However given the baseline should have been £1.9 billion higher in reality they raised compliance yield by the required £2 billion – no more, no less.

HMRC, in their defence, can (and do) point out that even on the adjusted higher baseline (ie the real compliance yield for 20101-11) they have increased compliance yield by £7.3 billion or 44% in three years – no mean achievement, and significantly above the original target of a £5 billion increase set in 2010. However to an extent HMRC have been victims of their own apparent success, in that the Chancellor increased their target for 2013-14 by a further £3.3 billion in 2012 and 2013. Whether they have met this new target depends on whether it is best seen as a target total compliance yield of £23 billion, in which case it has been exceeded by £0.9 billion, or as a target increase from 2010-11 of £8.3 billion, in which case they have fallen short by £1 billion once the higher baseline has been factored in. Given the setting of the higher target was largely in response to HMRC’s apparent success (in retrospect overstated) at exceeding earlier targets it is probably reasonable to see it as more the former.

Nevertheless the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) are, not unreasonably, concerned that a £1.9 billion error could have found its way into HMRC's figures and remained there undiscovered for a number of years. So when they called Lin Homer (chief executive) and other HMRC bosses before the PAC in July for their annual grilling over their accounts the baseline error was a key focus, and this is reflected in today’s report, which demands improvements in the reliability of HMRC’s compliance yield figures. Specifically the PAC asks for:
• HMRC to ensure key performance indicators are robust and subject to internal and external (NAO) checks, before they are reported publicly
• More transparency around HMRC’s compliance yield figures, including making it clearer what is actually ‘cash in the bank’, as opposed to expected future revenue or anticipated losses that had been prevented
• HMRC to keep a comparable measure of compliance yield over time

The other area covered by the PAC report is whether HMRC are making enough progress in tackling tax avoidance. Specifically the accusations being made by the Committee are that (a) HMRC is being too slow in taking action against avoidance schemes, and (b) HMRC is not doing enough to tackle companies which exploit international tax structures.

On the first of these they use the example of the Liberty scheme which began in 2005, was closed down in 2009 but has only this year been taken to a tax tribunal. The PAC acknowledge that accelerated payments could have a significant effect. They want HMRC to show it is using these and other powers “with sufficient urgency” and to report regularly on progress in this, for example in its annual report. The Committee has also highlighted that at least one promoter is currently pushing a scheme which claims to be outside both DOTAS and the GAAR “and results in an employee being in the position of receiving PAYE-free funds in his/her hands” (promoter’s claim).

On international tax structures the PAC takes a sceptical view on the merits of a number of recent changes to UK tax rules, including the patent box and changes to the regime for controlled foreign companies, and has asked HMRC and the Treasury to “set out the actual costs and benefits” of these changes. The Committee also wants the Treasury and HMRC to provide them with “details of progress in identifying and addressing the ways that international tax structures and exploited”.

As PAC reports go this one is not especially scathing, but it does illustrate that the Committee remains aggressively on HMRC’s case.

George Crozier
CIOT Head of External Relations
Tuesday 18 November 2014

Media and Politics
 
After the 2014 conferences (5): Business taxes - Labour set out policy agenda
12 November 2014

This is the fifth of a short series of blog articles looking at what we know about the direction of tax policy following this year’s political party conference season. The CIOT is strictly politically neutral and nothing in this article should be interpreted as endorsement for or opposition to any of the policies mentioned.

Labour are still having to work hard to try to reassure multinationals and investors that they are not anti-big business. A year ago Labour announced new policy of an energy price freeze and measures to promote small business over big business. At the time Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls assured business leaders that this was not the start of a wider offensive. However initiatives since then attacking big banks, betting shops, payday lenders (who would face a levy, the proceeds of which would be used to build up their credit union rivals), and exploitative private sector landlords have led some to disagree. To quote the FT: “Mr Miliband insists he is pro-business but his prescriptions of energy price freezes, bank dismemberment, land seizures, rent controls and increases in the minimum wage have convinced many corporate leaders otherwise.”

The bad news for businesses, especially those in the finance sector, continued to come during Labour’s 2014 conference. While half of the funding for Labour’s £2.5 billion fund for the NHS would come from a mansion tax the rest would be raised from levies on business: a new tax on tobacco firms’ profits, action against “umbrella companies” used to employ temporary workers to avoid tax and NI, removing a stamp duty exemption currently available to hedge funds and closing the “quoted eurobond exemption” which allows some businesses to channel tax-free interest out of the UK. Previously announced policies to increase the bank levy, repeat the tax on bank bonuses and reintroduce stamp duty reserve tax were reaffirmed.

A year ago a key Labour announcement was that the party would reverse the cut in corporation tax from 21 per cent to 20 per cent due to take effect in April 2015, and use the money to cut business rates for 1.5 million small businesses. This was reaffirmed in Manchester. However in what might be seen as a move to reassure multinationals and investors on competitiveness, Ed Balls stated that the party would nonetheless keep Britain’s corporation tax rates at the lowest in the G7. Other parts of Labour’s offer to business include strengthening the British Investment Bank and warning of the risks of the Conservatives’ flirting with exit from the European Union.

None of this, of course, prevents the Conservatives presenting Labour as anti-business, alongside parading their own tax-cutting credentials. “We have cut more in business taxes in this parliament than in any other parliament over the course of our history” was the triumphant message delivered to the CIOT/IFS conference fringe debate by David Gauke MP, Financial Secretary to the Treasury. As well as the cut in the headline rate of corporation tax he cited the introduction of the patent box and the employment allowance as measures particularly helping business. The final day of the Conservative conference saw David Cameron make a similar case, describing his Government’s approach as “rolling out the red carpet” for inward investors and making the (potentially very brave, should others follow suit) commitment that, under the Conservatives, the UK “will always have the most competitive corporate taxes in the G20… lower than Germany, lower than Japan, lower than the United States”.

Despite having the Business Secretary, the Lib Dems tend to be somewhat bashful about taking credit for business tax changes, preferring to focus on income tax cuts, investment in infrastructure and apprenticeships, and cracking down on avoidance. Vince Cable is also keen on drawing attention to the Government’s sector-based industrial strategy, which gives the state a role in building business confidence, creating certainty around regulation, promoting competition, sponsoring research and protecting consumers, workers and the environment. In his keynote speech to the conference Cable described the Government’s industrial strategy as “a public-private partnership, writ large.”

Lib Dems share Labour’s keenness to be seen to be backing small business over big. The party’s pre-manifesto promises to “Continue to reform business tax to ensure it stays competitive, making small and medium-sized enterprises the priority for any business tax cuts”. There is a pledge to review business rates in England, which are described as “a disproportionate burden on smaller businesses”. The review will cover the option of moving to Site Value Rating within five years, and in the longer term Land Value Taxation more broadly. During the conference Vince Cable revealed that there is likely to be an announcement in the Autumn Statement that small companies looking to expand into improved premises will be given relief on their business rates.

In June Labour published a business tax policy document: ‘Delivering Long-term Prosperity - Reform of Business Taxation’. The paper continues Labour’s interest in how government can promote long-termism in investment; this was one of four principles in the June paper. The party believes that the growth of cutting-edge companies has been hampered by systemic pressures that force too many businesses to focus on the short term. In a speech in June Ed Balls said that Labour was examining the case for an Allowance for Corporate Equity (ACE), along the lines suggested in the Mirrlees Review, to redress the systemic bias in favour of debt finance. As well as looking at ACE the policy document advocates exploring structural tax changes to incentivise long-term investment (eg taper CGT on shares and income tax on dividends), as recommended by Sir George Cox in the report he produced for the party last year.

Other domestic business tax reforms set out in the June policy document are guided by the principles of support for enterprise and innovation, simplicity and predictability, and a commitment to fairness. Reforms being proposed include:
• Support for tax simplification, and a considered and clearly signposted approach to tax reform, including considering establishing the Office of Tax Simplification as a truly independent body, outside the framework of the Treasury;
• Drawing up a roadmap for capital allowances, which will assess the allowances available on plant and machinery in the UK against those offered by competitor countries and show what allowances will be available over the lifetime of the next Parliament and at what rates;
• Looking into improved targeting of research and development tax credits (in particular, to maximise impact, rewarding “genuine contributions to national research capacity, rather than activities that are outsourced overseas”);
• Tackle dormant companies – Labour will require the annual confirmation of dormancy and explore the possibility of banks automatically informing HMRC when there is activity in supposedly-dormant accounts;
• Combat disguised employment in the construction industry - proposals to deem construction workers as employed for tax purposes if they meet criteria which most people would regard as obvious signs of employment;
• Ensure HMRC has the right resources, expertise and specialists, especially in investigation, enforcement, compliance and anti avoidance units;
• Strengthen NAO powers to scrutinise tax reliefs, particularly where they are abused to avoid tax.

Proposed international tax reforms will be covered in the next post in this series.

Labour have also said that they would give (as yet unidentified) tax breaks to firms that pay the living wage and end the exploitative use of zero-hours contracts. By the end of the next parliament, Labour would increase the national minimum wage to £8 an hour.

George Crozier
CIOT Head of External Relations
Wedneday 12 November 2014

Media and Politics
 
After the 2014 conferences (4): Pensions and inheritance: Divergent views
4 November 2014

This is the fourth of a short series of blog articles looking at what we know about the direction of tax policy following this year’s political party conference season. The CIOT is strictly politically neutral and nothing in this article should be interpreted as endorsement for or opposition to any of the policies mentioned.

As mentioned in the previous post, both Labour and the Lib Dems are targeting further reductions in tax relief on pension contributions, with Labour proposing to cut the rate for people earning over £150,000 a year from 45 to 20 per cent, and the Lib Dems planning to cap the lifetime fund limit at just £1 million. There are other proposals on the table too. In June Labour agreed to consider a plan from the thinktank the IPPR to save £2 billion a year by ending people’s automatic right to take a quarter of their pension pot tax-free. Now Lib Dem Pensions Minister Steve Webb has floated the idea of having a single rate of relief for all, regardless of whether someone is a basic, higher or additional rate payer (or indeed not an income tax payer at all). Webb explained: “We spend something like £37 billion a year on tax relief for pensions and yet overwhelmingly the money goes to those who are already well off and who will end up with decent pensions in any case. We could probably spend less on pension tax relief overall… but also rebalance the money so that everyone, rich or poor, got help at the same rate.”

In the coalition, however, the Lib Dems are supporting a pension-related tax cut. In his keynote speech to Conservative conference George Osborne announced the end of the so called ‘death tax’, saying the 55% rate that is currently applied to pension pots left by savers will be scrapped. Instead, beneficiaries of those with a drawdown arrangement who die before age 75 will be entitled to receive the deceased member’s pension pot as a tax free lump sum; and for those who die after 75, the beneficiary will pay income tax at the marginal rate applying when withdrawals are made from the fund. Some have posed questions about whether the new set-up will be open to abuse. BBC analyst Simon Gompertz speculated whether, in future, pensions could become a method of preserving savings beyond the grave? Unlike most other Conservative announcements this has coalition agreement and will be implemented in the current session of Parliament. The Treasury predicts the new policy will cost approximately £150m per year.

The Conservatives, of course, promised inheritance tax (IHT) cuts in their 2010 election manifesto, but coalition discussions resulted in the Lib Dem priority of income tax cuts being put first. Shortly after this year’s conference David Cameron excited his party and media supporters by saying he wanted to "shoehorn" into next March’s Budget a policy to increase the £325,000 IHT threshold, however he later rowed back expectations by warning it would take "some time" before the Conservatives were able to cut IHT. It is almost certain that there will be a commitment on this in the party’s manifesto next spring; a Budget announcement is possible but would be unlikely to gain Lib Dem support without a comparable boost for a policy favoured by them. In the end it may be the state of the public finances which determines whether this is a runner.

Pressure on IHT is coming particularly from UKIP, who favour scrapping the tax entirely, but there is also evidence that voters across the spectrum want the tax to go. On the conference fringe PwC’s Head of Tax, Kevin Nicholson, set out some of the early findings from the firm’s ‘Future of Tax’ project. Among the proposals backed by a 22 person Citizen’s Jury was the scrapping of IHT. Also on the conference fringe Michael Izza of ICAEW highlighted that his Institute’s manifesto calls for the tax to be scrapped.

George Crozier
CIOT Head of External Relations
Tuesday 4 November 2014

Media and Politics
 
After the 2014 conferences (3): Taxing the rich: From the few to the many?
30 October 2014

This is the third of a short series of blog articles looking at what we know about the direction of tax policy following this year’s political party conference season. The CIOT is strictly politically neutral and nothing in this article should be interpreted as endorsement for or opposition to any of the policies mentioned.

Help ‘for the many, not just the few’ was a key Labour message at the conference. Most of the party’s tax policies fit this theme, broadly taking money from a small number of wealthy and/or undeserving to help either a much larger number (eg. taxing mansion owners and tobacco companies to fund the NHS) or the particularly deserving (eg. taxing banks and bankers to help the unemployed and parents needing childcare).

Labour policies which arguably fit this model include:

  • Return the additional rate of income tax to 50p (a.k.a. ‘reversing the Tory tax cut for millionaires’), so that ‘the books can be balanced in a fairer way’;
  • Repeat the tax on bank bonuses to pay for a ‘Compulsory Jobs Guarantee’, which young people and the long-term unemployed will have to take up or lose benefits;
  • Reduce relief on pension contributions for people earning over £150,000 a year from 45 to 20 per cent to fund the Jobs Guarantee for the rest of the Parliament;
  • Increase the bank levy to expand free childcare for working parents to 25 hours a week;
  • Scrap ‘shares for rights’ and reintroduce stamp duty reserve tax on UK-domiciled unit trusts and open-ended investment companies to fund scrapping the ‘bedroom tax’;
  • Scrap the transferable allowance for married couples and use the savings to fund the reintroduction of the lower 10p starting rate of income tax (as mentioned above);
  • Taxing ‘mansion’ owners, tobacco companies and tax avoiders to boost funding on the NHS (see below).

Both Labour and the Liberal Democrats have announced tax increases mostly targeting the well heeled to pay for additional spending on the NHS. In his conference address Ed Miliband announced that Labour would create a £2.5 billion fund for the NHS. £1.2 billion of this would come from the mansion tax, £150 million from a new tax on tobacco firms (a 15 per cent levy on the sector’s annual £1bn of profits) and the remainder from a series of measures characterised as cracking down on tax avoidance. Specifically these are:

  • Action against “umbrella companies” used to employ temporary workers to avoid tax and NI, reportedly an attempt to deal with the long running issue of tax relief for the travel and subsistence expenses of temporary workers; expected to save up to £650 million;
  • “Stop hedge funds avoiding hundreds of millions in tax on shares, so that they pay the same amount as individual investors and pension funds”, lifting an exemption on paying stamp duty that arises when broker dealers transfer shares to hedge funds; expected to raise £500 million;
  • Closing the “quoted eurobond exemption” which allows some businesses to channel tax-free interest out of the UK, raising up to £200 million.

The Lib Dems’ more modest £1 billion NHS funding boost (which would especially be targeted at mental health services) would be funded by:

  • Scrapping the Conservative "shares for rights” scheme where workers can sacrifice certain employment rights in exchange for company shares;
  • Increasing the dividend tax on additional rate taxpayers;
  • Tightening the cap on pension tax relief, cutting the lifetime allowance to £1m.

The Lib Dems have further tax increases aimed at high earners to fund a £500 increase in the personal allowance in 2016:

  • Raising capital gains tax for higher rate taxpayers from 28% to 35%;
  • Cutting the CGT allowance from £10,900 to £2,500 (though the personal allowance would be transferable to capital gains if not fully used on income);
  • Further anti-tax avoidance measures, including a new General Anti-Avoidance Rule (this is the only measure mentioned by name but other Lib Dem policies which might fit in this category include ensuring benefits in kind received in lieu of salary are subject to full NICs, tightening the non-dom rules and extending the time period for which lifetime transfers of wealth are within the scope of Inheritance Tax);
  • Possibly making entrepreneurs’ relief less generous.

Both Labour and the Lib Dems also favour a form of ‘mansion tax’. The Lib Dems reiterated their intention, originally announced in April, of introducing a mansion tax in the form of additional council tax bands for the highest value properties. Nick Clegg explained: “I went off, big time, the idea that you have a fixed levy as a percentage over a certain value. The more I looked at it, the more I thought, 'That's very crude.' It leads to eye-watering amounts of tax being paid. What we should do is go with the grain of the council tax system and apply bands to higher properties.” An aide said this reform would be simpler to put into action as it did not require government to know the exact value of everyone's property over £2 million. The £1.7 billion expected to be raised by the measure would contribute to reducing the deficit. In his conference speech Clegg claimed the Conservatives had explicitly told the Lib Dems: “you can’t have your mansion tax because our donors won’t wear it.”

Labour’s plans have faced especially vocal criticism from inside and outside the party. Labour MP Margaret Hodge, Chair of the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee, branded it a “punishment tax” for those who happen to live in areas which have grown in value, a point echoed by other London Labour MPs. The party leadership are working hard to reassure the middle classes that they will not be affected, and to reassure members in London and the South East that it will not be a vote loser. In his conference speech, Ed Balls said the tax would be “fair, sensible and proportionate”. He gave a number of assurances and clarifications, which were added to in a Sky News interview on October 5th and in an Evening Standard article on October 20th. The main ones are:

  • It will not be levied as a percentage of property value but rather through a banded system (eg £2-3 million) modelled on the existing Annual Tax on Enveloped Dwellings (ATED) with all properties in a band paying the same amount;
  • No property under £2 million will be included and the threshold will be raised each year in line with average rises in house prices;
  • Owners will be able to submit a self-valuation to HMRC, as with ATED;
  • Those owning properties worth £2-3 million will only pay an extra £250 a month — the same as the average top band of council tax – but those with properties worth tens of millions will make “a significantly bigger contribution”;
  • Protections for those who are asset rich but cash poor – those earning below the income tax higher rate threshold (roughly £42,000 a year) will be guaranteed the right to defer the charge until the property changes hands;
  • Labour will look at asking overseas owners of second homes in the UK to make a larger contribution than people living in their only home.

There is little support in the Conservative Party for additional taxes on the wealthy or high earners. An exception to this rule is ConservativeHome founder Tim Montgomerie, who made a case on the fringe that the mansion tax (amongst other wealth taxes) was not incompatible with conventional free market economics. He argued that large numbers of people had become wealthy not because of hard work but because they invested during the boom years of ‘Britain’s highly regulated’ property market; those who benefited from state intervention should be taxed through state intervention.

George Crozier
CIOT Head of External Relations
Thursday 30 October 2014

Media and Politics
 
After the 2014 conferences (2): Income taxes: gain without pain?
29 October 2014

This is the second of a short series of blog articles looking at what we know about the direction of tax policy following this year’s political party conference season. The CIOT is strictly politically neutral and nothing in this article should be interpreted as endorsement for or opposition to any of the policies mentioned.

The stand-out announcement of the conference season was undoubtedly David Cameron’s ‘tax cut for 30 million people’ – the promise in his conference speech that a Conservative Government would raise the income tax personal allowance to £12,500 and the higher rate threshold to £50,000 by 2020. These would give taxpayers earning between £12,500 and £42,000 an extra £500 a year and those on between £50,000 and £100,000 just over £2,100 extra. However the latter figure would be reduced to just over £1,300 if, as seems probable, the upper earnings limit for employee national insurance contributions (NICs) – that is the point up to which you pay 12% NICs rather than the 2% you pay above it – were raised along with the point at which higher rate income tax kicks in. The Treasury have been quoted by the BBC as saying the saving would be £1,313, which indicates they have factored this in.

The Conservatives have not explicitly said how the changes would be timed - whether they would be phased in over the full five years of the parliament or only introduced after the books have been balanced (that is, from 2018). David Cameron’s remarks that “We will see the job through and… as we do that… [deliver] tax cuts” imply the latter. Treasury Committee Chair Andrew Tyrie certainly appears to believe this would be the case, noting in a recent interview that “these are tax cuts being offered before the headroom for them is available, conditional on the headroom, some years out”. He added that, of course, “for them to have an effect on economic behaviour those pledges have to be believed.”

Then there are the costs. The Institute for Fiscal Studies has said that the combined cost of the two income tax changes would be £7.2bn by 2020 (£1.6bn for the personal allowance increase and £5.6 billion for the increase in the higher rate threshold). This has been calculated using a baseline not of where the thresholds are now, but where they would be if both had been increased annually in the meantime at the rate of inflation. On this basis the IFS reckon the pledge is only worth about £160 a year for basic-rate taxpayers and £430 a year for those paying the higher rate.

The other parties have unsurprisingly reacted sceptically to the big Conservative announcement. Chris Leslie, Labour’s Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, has written to George Osborne asking him to clarify how the cuts would be paid for, and reminding him of his own comments in November 2008 that “real tax cuts are funded, real tax cuts you show how you are going to pay for them”. For the Lib Dems Nick Clegg accused David Cameron of “spraying around unfunded moon-on-a-stick-type promises” of tax cuts.

Of course raising the personal allowance to £12,500 was Lib Dem policy before it was Conservative policy, leading to some grumpiness at Lib Dem conference about the Tories ‘plagiarising’ their plans. The Lib Dems draw two distinctions between their plans and the Conservatives’. Firstly they argue their proposal is funded while the Conservatives’ is not. To demonstrate that this is the case for at least the first instalment of the tax cut they announced that the party would raise the personal allowance to £11,000 in the first year of the next Parliament (ie. from April 2016), and set out how the £1.5 billion cost of doing so would be funded.

The second dividing line the Lib Dems draw is that their tax cut would be – to quote a (possibly deliberately) leaked draft of the front page of the party manifesto – “paid for by taxes on the richest” while the Conservatives’ cut, if it could be delivered at all, would be paid for by the working age poor. The breakdown of where the Lib Dems would find the £1.5 billion for the 2016 tax cut is intended to illustrate this, consisting of increases to capital gains tax and anti-avoidance measures.

Once the Lib Dems have raised the income tax threshold to £12,500, they have said they will then start to increase the National Insurance (NI) threshold, with a long-term ambition to raise this to the same level as income tax.

Labour also have an income tax cut in their policy locker, albeit it one funded from an increase elsewhere. The party has reiterated its plan first announced a year ago to reintroduce the lower 10p starting rate of income tax that was introduced and then scrapped by the last Labour Government. A year ago this was to be funded by the mansion tax, but that is now being directed elsewhere (see below) so this will now be funded by the scrapping of the transferable allowance for married couples. Government estimates are that this allowance will cost £515 million in 2015/16 rising to £820m by 2018/19, which means that, unless additional funding can be identified, the 10p band will not be able to cover the full first £1,000 of earnings, as previously suggested by Labour (estimates of the cost of having a £1,000 band for the 10p rate range from £1.5 billion to £2 billion.) Ed Balls confirmed this in a post-conference interview in which he said Labour had not yet set a band for the 10p rate.

Labour’s 10p rate proposal has faced criticism for adding further complexity to the tax system. At a Social Market Foundation (SMF) fringe meeting Paul Johnson of the IFS described it as “probably the stupidest thing you can do”.

Conservative members, meanwhile, while welcoming the introduction of the transferable allowance, generally regard its initial value of £150 as far too little and want to see it increased quickly.

Labour figures have also expressed sympathy for increasing the NI threshold, while pointing out that raising the income tax threshold does less and less for the lowest paid. At the same SMF fringe that Paul Johnson spoke at Shadow DWP Minister Stephen Timms drew attention to the large proportion of the personal allowance increase which has been clawed back from low earners in cuts to tax credits. He saw a case for putting up the NI threshold but warned that the impact on the number of people contributing to contributory benefits had to be borne in mind.

Labour, of course, also want to return the additional rate to 50p.

George Crozier
CIOT Head of External Relations
Wednesday 29 October 2014

Media and Politics
 

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