Media and politics

We take a look at tax thinkers' respective takes on General Election 2017.

John Preston, Incoming CIOT President of the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT), sets out some of the differences between the approaches of the UK and Australian revenue authorities in the ways they are implementing their respective Making Tax Digital (MTD) programmes. 

The committee’s report on Making Tax Digital was published in January and the Government’s response was reported in the April 24th political review.  Following the taking of oral evidence, committee chairman Andrew Tyrie wrote to the Federation of Small Business and the Financial Secretary to the Treasury asking them to give more details about their very different assessments of the cost to small businesses of adhering to obligations in Making Tax Digital. He sent their responses to the Administrative Burdens Advisory Board (ABAB) asking them to form an independent view on them because the figures are so different.


In a new report the Work and Pensions Committee has said the Government must close the loopholes that allow ‘bogus’ self-employment practices. These practices are potentially creating an extra burden on the welfare state while simultaneously reducing the tax contributions that sustain it, the Committee argues. The Committee heard from ‘gig economy’ companies such as Uber, Amazon, Hermes and Deliveroo, and from drivers who work with them. The evidence taken painted ‘starkly contrasting’ pictures of the effect and impact of ‘self-employment’ by these companies. The inquiry had to be curtailed because of the election.

The committee stage and third reading of the Finance Bill were held on a single day because of time restrictions owing to the General Election being called for June 8. 

John Cullinane, CIOT Tax Policy Director, gave evidence to the Finance and Constitution Committee of the Scottish Parliament last week as part of its enquiry into a Scottish approach to taxation.

The Criminal Finances Bill includes new corporate offences of domestic and foreign failure to prevent tax evasion, as well as legislation on money laundering and related issues. Following the passage of a large number of government amendments to the Bill at Lords committee stage (see report here) a further 38 amendments were passed at Lords report stage on Tuesday. These were endorsed by MPs the following day.


The first Finance Bill of 2017, much reduced, cleared its Commons stages in a little over two and a half hours this afternoon. 

The selection of amendments for today's Finance Bill committee stage debate shows that the Government plan to remove a majority of the Finance Bill - 72/135 clauses and 18/29 schedules. - following discussions with the Opposition.
[NB. This blog has been corrected 26/4/17 to reflect that the original schedule 17 has been dropped from the Bill]

The second reading was a chance for a debate on the principles in, and broad content of, the Finance Bill, but it was a thin exchange on this occasion because of uncertainty about how it will progress and which clauses will be ditched because of the announcement of a general election on June 8. Much of the debate was about the sugar tax.

The SNP put forward an amendment to scupper the Bill, which was voted down by 54- 314. The SNP complained that the Bill failed to provide the necessary stimulus to compensate for the economic impact of Brexit, it failed to address the inequity of VAT being charged on the Scottish Police Authority and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and failed to provide concrete measures to support the oil and gas industry, among other failings.

The Bill will now go to its committee stage, which will take place on the floor of the House of Commons in a single day on April 25th (tomorrow).