Media and politics

The Labour Party outlined plans for widespread nationalisation, higher public spending and taxes, and greening the economy, at its 2019 Conference in Brighton. In general, the conference took place in a highly charged and occasionally chaotic atmosphere dominated by Brexit, with the party’ leader’s speech moved to an earlier day and truncated to fit in with the unanticipated return of Parliament.

Austerity is technically over but the spending squeeze on some government departments continues and a bad Brexit risks a return to fiscal belt tightening soon, concluded a panel at the CIOT’s Conservative Conference 2019 debate.

A packed fringe meeting at the Labour Conference in Brighton debated whether austerity is really over and how the party might pay for its planned spending increases. 

Liberal Democrat conference in Bournemouth backed radical changes to corporation tax, including restrictions to reliefs, a boost to capital allowances and extending the tax to cover highly profitable partnerships and other unincorporated businesses. For multinationals the party wants a wider definition of permanent establishment and, longer term, a global system of business taxation. In an autumn election a penny on income tax for health and social care, and restoring the 20% rate of corporation tax to increase funding of public services, would likely be key policies.

‘Keep it simple’ when introducing technology into your tax management was a key message from the CIOT’s panel discussion on the impact of technology on the tax profession.

South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay led a Westminster Hall debate on Tuesday 3 September, calling for an extension of the penalty suspension to those people impacted by the withdrawal of child benefit for higher earners.

Over the last decade, we have witnessed a revolution in cross-border tax information exchange and reporting—with significant repercussions for global tax compliance, tax planning and tax enforcement.

A House of Commons Committee has said that HMRC must do more to support vulnerable taxpayers involved in tax disputes, after taking oral and written evidence from CIOT and LITRG and others.

It has been widely reported that, shortly before being elected Prime Minister, Boris Johnson gave support to suggestions by the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) that the liability to pay Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) should be switched from the buyer to the seller.  This idea leads to some interesting issues.

Boris Johnson’s victory in the Conservative leadership election could lead to a flurry of tax changes when MPs return to the Commons in the autumn. The former Mayor of London – sometimes referred to in the media as ‘Bo Jo’ – won the contest with a promise to both cut taxes and increase spending on schools and the police. However, his most significant pledge is that Britain will leave the EU on 31 October 2019, in a ‘no deal’ scenario if necessary.