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A private member’s bill seeking to raise the VAT registration threshold and increase the number of exemptions was debated by MPs last week but will not become law.

With a no-deal Brexit appearing increasingly likely, HMRC is now warning that, in that event, 245,000 businesses would face a tsunami of new customs declarations, tariffs and VAT obligations after 29 March.

The Finance Bill went through all its stages in the House of Lords yesterday, ahead of Royal Assent which is expected next week.

The Treasury Committee staged the latest witness session in its inquiry into tax enquiries and resolution of tax disputes this afternoon (6 February 2019). The Government's Making Tax Digital project was slated by FSB and ICAEW during the session, with the FSB making some grave predictions about its impact.

 

The most significant Brexit-related development of the week was a series of votes in the House of Commons on amendments to an anodyne government motion, which gave different groups of MPs a chance to suggest alternative ways forward on Brexit. The key results were that Parliament failed to ‘take control’ of the Brexit process from government, and MPs indicated that the withdrawal agreement could get parliamentary support if the Irish Border backstop is replaced with something more acceptable to MPs. With the EU repeating its opposition to reopening the withdrawal agreement this will not be achieved easily. There is, however, increasing speculation that compromise might be possible – with both the EU and Labour – around a UK-EU customs union.

MSPs have backed the general principles Scottish Government’s Budget for the year ahead following a vote in Parliament on Thursday.

They voted by 67 votes to 58 in favour of the Budget (Scotland) (No.3) Bill after the Scottish Green Party reached a last minute agreement with the government on further tax-raising powers for councils.

The government continues to lay Brexit-related statutory instruments (SIs) in preparation for a possible ‘no deal’ exit from the EU, including a number in the tax area. Since the start of 2019 six VAT-related SIs have been laid, plus three relating to Excise Duty and one relating to Customs.

MPs on a delegated legislation committee have approved three statutory instruments (SIs) establishing a customs union between the UK and three Crown Dependencies (Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man), following less than 20 minutes of debate.

The Treasury Committee staged the latest witness session in its inquiry into tax enquiries and resolution of tax disputes today (30 January 2019). HMRC made some announcements on the Loan Charge and defended its litigation and settlement strategy.

Conservative MP Jeremy Lefroy secured a debate in Westminster Hall on the taxation of low-income families, held on Wednesday.