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The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee held a session with representatives of HMRC and the Treasury on Thursday 12 November 2020 as part of its inquiry into COVID-19 and employment. The hearing focused on the job support schemes implemented since the start of the pandemic. Witnesses from HMRC at this session were Jim Harra, Chief Executive, and Jo Rowland, Temporary Director General, COVID-19 Response Unit. Witnesses from the Treasury were Beth Russell, Director General for Tax and Welfare, and Sir Tom Scholar, Permanent Secretary. The MPs referred to a recent NAO report ‘Implementing employment support schemes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic’, but the questions and comments covered a much wider area.

The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) held a meeting on Monday 16 November 2020 with HMRC officials Jim Harra (Chief Executive), Angela MacDonald (Deputy Chief Executive) and Justin Holliday (Chief Finance Officer). The meeting was PAC’s annual look at HMRC’s Standard Report and the department’s annual report and accounts.

The Scottish Parliament’s Finance and Constitution Committee took evidence from John Cullinane, CIOT’s director of public policy and Charlotte Barbour, director of taxation with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS) last week (4 November) as part of their scrutiny of the 2021-22 Scottish Budget.

You can watch a video of the session (starting from 10:53:09) on the Scottish Parliament website by clicking here. The official report of proceedings can also be found on the Scottish Parliament’s website here.

The House of Lords Economic Affairs Finance Bill Sub-Committee held a session with the Tax Minister Jesse Norman on Monday (2 November), as part of its inquiry into draft Finance Bill 2020-2021.

The House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee’s Finance Bill Sub-Committee has questioned representatives of HMRC, the IFS Tax Law Review Committee and TaxWatch, and a tax tribunal judge, as part of its inquiry into new HMRC powers contained in Draft Finance Bill 2020-21.

The House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee’s Finance Bill Sub-Committee held an inquiry into proposals for new tax checks on licence renewal applications. Witnesses were from the Institute of Licensing, National Association of Licensing and Enforcement Officers, British Metals Recycling Association, Licensed Taxi Drivers Association and Licensed Private Hire Car Association.

The House of Commons Treasury Committee held a hearing on Tuesday 20 October into employment taxes, as part of their Tax after Coronavirus inquiry. Witnesses were Bill Dodwell, Judith Freedman and representatives of the CBI and IPSE.

Live blog of proceedings of the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee’s Finance Bill Sub-Committee on Wednesday 21 October 2020, in which representatives of the CIOT's Low Incomes Tax Reform Group (LITRG), the Association of Taxation Technicians (ATT) and other bodies were questioned about measures relating to tax avoidance schemes, tax checks and HMRC powers. 

The Treasury Committee is looking at the UK’s proposed customs policies and procedures once the transition period expires on 31 December 2020.

Normal politics were on hold at the online Conservative Party Conference, with shortened speeches and curtailed policy debate. The Chancellor committed himself to putting the “overwhelming might of the British state” at the service of struggling businesses and workers, but said that the books would need to be balanced eventually. On the fringe, and in media interviews and reports, there are clues as to which taxes are likely to rise.