As we enter the final run-up to polling day, we have pulled together a helpful spreadsheet to enable you to compare the tax policies of the main parties contesting the General Election in Scotland, England and Wales.
The 2019 CIOT/ATT tax tracker allows you to see proposals from the Conservatives, Labour, SNP, Liberal Democrats, Greens, Brexit Party and Plaid Cymru.
In summary this is how the parties compare:
Income and capital gains – Labour and the Greens would wrap capital gains and dividends into income tax and tax them at income tax rates. The Lib Dems would wrap capital gains in but not dividends. Labour propose income tax increases for those earning more than £80,000 a year. The Lib Dems would increase each income tax rate by a penny. The Conservatives promise no increases in income tax or national insurance rates, but would increase the employee national insurance threshold. The SNP, also backing no increases in National Insurance, want NI to be devolved to the Scottish Parliament.
The Conservatives and Plaid Cymru would keep the Corporation Tax rate at 19 per cent. Lib Dems would raise it to 20 per cent, the Greens to 24 per cent and Labour to 26 per cent, with a lower 21 per cent rate for small profits. The Brexit Party propose a new zero rate for the first £10,000 of profits. A number of parties plan changes to R&D reliefs, most radically Labour who would phase out R&D tax credits for large corporations over the Parliament.
Various sector-specific tax proposals have been put forward, the most headline grabbing of which is Labour’s plan for a windfall tax on the oil and gas industry. Labour and Lib Dems would place a levy on the gambling industry to tackle problem gambling. Labour plan a Financial Transactions Tax. Lib Dems would increase the digital services tax rate.
Small businesses would be particular beneficiaries of a series of other business tax measures, including a more generous Employment Allowance (Conservatives, SNP and Greens) and reforms to the Apprenticeship Levy (Conservatives, Labour and Lib Dems). A Labour government would target high-paying employers with a new excessive pay levy on earnings over £330,000.
On international tax measures, all parties want measures to tackle profit-shifting by multinationals, but while the Conservatives only offer unspecified ‘further measures’ Labour propose to bring in unitary taxation of non-UK multinational companies via apportionment, based (it appears) on some combination of sales, assets and labour. Lib Dems would broaden the rules for determining whether a multinational has a UK establishment. SNP want an online retailer tax.
Explicit pledges not to increase VAT can also be found across the political spectrum, with a series of measures aimed at maintaining or ending VAT on a variety of products and efforts by the SNP, Plaid and Greens to boost the hospitality industry. Lib Dems and SNP also plan lower VAT rates for home insulation.
Further indirect tax measures are focused on boosting the environment, including taxes on plastic and flying, and, for the Greens, taxes on meat and dairy products to encourage a shift to plant-based diets. The Conservatives, SNP and Liberal Democrats all hint at plans to cut duty on Scotch Whisky.
On property and land taxation the Greens propose a land value tax, while Lib Dems would introduce this for commercial landowners only, replacing business rates. Labour would consider this change. The Conservatives would review business rates and propose reductions for some categories of business. A number of parties propose tax measures targeted at owners of second homes, empty properties and overseas purchasers of UK property. Labour would reverse Conservative inheritance tax cuts while the Brexit Party want to scrap IHT altogether.
As usual at election time there are lots of proposals to strengthen tax compliance, including plans from Labour, Lib Dems and Greens to replace the current General Anti-Abuse Rule with a General Anti-Avoidance Rule (or principle, in the Greens’ case) . Labour have a 35 point programme in this area, including increasing transparency with public filing of tax returns for big companies and high earners. They would also scrap non-dom status and massively increase HMRC’s programme of tax audits. The Conservatives plan tougher sentences for tax fraud and a new Anti-Tax Evasion unit in HMRC. Lib Dems and SNP would review the current IR35 proposals and Lib Dems want to end retrospective tax changes like the loan charge. Labour promise not to extend quarterly reporting to businesses below the VAT threshold.