Media and politics

By Joanne Walker CIOT Scottish Technical Officer.

As debates continue over whether Holyrood has sufficient powers to weather the coronavirus economic storm, we shouldn’t lose sight of the need to ensure that its tax powers remain fit for purpose. Scotland’s devolved tax system already looked like being an election hotspot before Covid-19. It is likely to be thrust into even sharper focus as ministers balance the costs of their existing commitments against the price of lockdown. It is a scenario that reminds us that the case for improving the scrutiny of Scottish taxes has never been stronger.

The House of Commons Treasury Committee took oral evidence from the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, officially as part of its inquiry into the economic impact of coronavirus, though other issues were also covered. Also attending was Dan York-Smith, Director of Strategy, Planning and Budget, at the Treasury.

The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has published a report that looks at Management of Tax Reliefs. In it the PAC argues that the Government knows too little about the tax reliefs it provides: whether they work, or offer value for money, or even how much they actually cost.

The Finance Bill and Stamp Duty Land Tax (Temporary Relief) Bill passed their House of Lords stages today (17 July). Debate on the two bills was combined. There were concerns about the winners of the stamp duty cut, the IR35 changes and exchanges about the loan charge.

The House of Commons Treasury Committee has launched a new inquiry called ‘Tax after coronavirus’. The inquiry was launched by commitee chair Mel Stride and his fellow committee member Angela Eagle at an online event hosted by CIOT earlier today.

The Stamp Duty Land Tax (Temporary Relief) Bill passed through the House of Commons on Monday of this week. The Bill ensures that anyone buying a main home for under £500,000 before the end of March next year will pay no stamp duty.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has provided an update on the UK’s economic recovery from COVID-19 and set out a ‘Plan for Jobs’ which includes a targeted VAT cut, a ‘Job Retention Bonus’ and a cut in stamp duty land tax (SDLT).

This year’s CTA address was delivered by Professor Stephen Mayson, a barrister and legal commentator who recently concluded a two-year assessment of the regulation of legal services in England and Wales. In his address – which was held online – Professor Mayson explored the potential future regulation of the tax advice market.

MPs are considering amendments and new clauses tabled to the Finance Bill, relating to tax reliefs and easements and support measures in response to coronavirus. After report stage third reading debate will take place.

MPs considered amendments and new clauses tabled to the Finance Bill, relating to the Digital Services Tax, the Bill's environmental impact, the loan charge and off-payroll working.