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MPs on the Public Accounts Committee question HMRC chiefs about the tax gap, Making Tax Digital, the role of tax agents, the loan charge and – of course – Brexit.

The challenges of managing a partly devolved income tax regime were the focus of CIOT’s fifth successive event at an SNP conference. Titled ‘Tax at Twenty’, the event provided delegates with the chance to hear from a panel comprised of politicians, a tax expert and a pollster tasked with reviewing the evolution of Scotland’s devolved tax journey twenty years on from its inception.

This is the second event held by CIOT in 2019 to consider the devolution of taxes to the Scottish Parliament. A link to the first of these - held in partnership with ICAS - can be found here.

Both the Green Party and Co-operative Party went big on their respective 'Green Deals' during autumn conference season this year - while the Welsh nationalists spoke out in favour of EU membership.

SNP leaders defended Scotland’s divergence from the rest of the UK on income tax during the party’s 2019 conference in Aberdeen. Tax debates were largely absent from the gathering, with it left to the CIOT to facilitate discussion around the performance of Scotland’s devolved tax regime 20 years on from its inception.

There were no big tax announcements at this year’s Conservative conference, but plenty of hints of what the new Prime Minister and Chancellor would like to do, once Brexit is out of the way. This includes cuts to income tax and inheritance tax.

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.