Financial Secretary David Gauke (since promoted to Chief Secretary to the Treasury), thanked the CIOT for its expert advice on government tax policy in the past 12 months, at the Institute’s Annual Parliamentary Reception on June 28th.
(Pictured: Mackinlay, Dodwell and Gauke at the function)
The event was attended by parliamentarians such as Labour MP Meg Hillier, the chair of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and Tory MP and CTA Craig Mackinlay, who was the parliamentary sponsor of the event, as well as by leading tax commentators and practitioners.
In a short speech, CIOT President Bill Dodwell raised concerns that HMRC had been found by the National Audit Office and PAC to have reduced resources at its call centres too hastily before digitisation had taken root, and emphasised the wider role of the CIOT and the Low Incomes Tax Reform Group to educate the public about taxation.
On Making Tax Digital, David Gauke said: “I am determined to continue to work with the tax profession, including CIOT, to ensure we do this in a way that works for all of us. We have a lot to learn from each other. We welcome the positive and constructive approach the CIOT has taken in the context of Making Tax Digital.
“My door is frequently open and I am keen to hear your comments and concerns and encourage HMRC to get out there and listen to what business have to say and tax professionals have to say.”
The reception, held at the House of Commons Terrace Pavilion, coincided with a Committee of the Whole House debate on the Finance Bill that day.
The Financial Secretary said that a key theme of the Bill was to make Britain as competitive as possible and as open for business as possible. In the light of the Brexit vote, we need to ensure that message is heard around the world, he said.
The minister also emphasised the Government’s continuing focus on tax compliance, arguing we have to ‘ensure we are in a climate where taxes are paid, that is why we have strengthened HMRC’s powers on occasions, closed loopholes and given HMRC the resources that they need and the public expects nothing else. It is important to maintain confidence in the tax system and another lesson from last week [the Brexit vote] is that there is a general disaffection with how the world works, a certain rage if you like, and that can sometimes be directed to a tax system if it is not seen as fair. It is really important that we maintain public confidence and support in our tax system and the fact is that we need the money’.
(Pictured: Members mix with politicians, journalists and people from pressure groups)
Gauke was promoted to Chief Secretary to the Treasury by new Prime Minister Teresa May in July. The new Financial Secretary and tax minister is Jane Ellison, who was previously minister for public health.