Blog archive - 2019

The first full week of election campaigning since Parliament was dissolved has seen Labour back a new tax on multinationals and the Conservatives propose cuts to business rates for small firms. Ahead of the manifestos – most of which are expected next week – here is our round up of tax and related developments so far.

Sometimes we all mistake one thing for another. Maybe we see a ball lying in the road, but when we get closer we see that it’s actually an orange. But written words tend to have specific meanings, so unless it’s a word we don’t know, or the sentence structure is very complex, we can work out what is meant. Or can we?

Cross-border Trade and Accounting was the topic of an adjournment debate on 30 October. Conservative Luke Graham, who was an accountant for Tesco and Marks and Spencer before becoming an MP, secured the debate and spoke about the development of accounting systems, Making Tax Digital and HMRC’s support for small and medium-sized businesses. He said he believed accountants can help with big social and environmental challenges and that it ‘may well be accountants who have the key to global Britain’.

The debate on the Queen’s Speech concluded on Thursday 24 October with speeches focused on the economy. As is typical with Queen’s Speech debates most contributions were broad-brush with plenty of political knock-about on show. This summary picks out the tax-related contributions in particular.

MPs on the Treasury Committee have questioned HMRC bosses about the organisations’ culture, pay and conditions, as well as customer service levels, its approach to debt collection and the implementation of the 2019 loan charge. Inevitably the department’s Brexit preparations also loomed large at the hearing.

MPs on the Public Accounts Committee question HMRC chiefs about the tax gap, Making Tax Digital, the role of tax agents, the loan charge and – of course – Brexit.

The challenges of managing a partly devolved income tax regime were the focus of CIOT’s fifth successive event at an SNP conference. Titled ‘Tax at Twenty’, the event provided delegates with the chance to hear from a panel comprised of politicians, a tax expert and a pollster tasked with reviewing the evolution of Scotland’s devolved tax journey twenty years on from its inception.

This is the second event held by CIOT in 2019 to consider the devolution of taxes to the Scottish Parliament. A link to the first of these - held in partnership with ICAS - can be found here.

Both the Green Party and Co-operative Party went big on their respective 'Green Deals' during autumn conference season this year - while the Welsh nationalists spoke out in favour of EU membership.

SNP leaders defended Scotland’s divergence from the rest of the UK on income tax during the party’s 2019 conference in Aberdeen. Tax debates were largely absent from the gathering, with it left to the CIOT to facilitate discussion around the performance of Scotland’s devolved tax regime 20 years on from its inception.

There were no big tax announcements at this year’s Conservative conference, but plenty of hints of what the new Prime Minister and Chancellor would like to do, once Brexit is out of the way. This includes cuts to income tax and inheritance tax.