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The House of Lords Economic Affairs Finance Bill Sub-Committee took oral evidence on Making Tax Digital and HMRC Powers today as part of its inquiry into Draft Finance Bill 2018. A liveblog appears below.

This was a fairly quiet conference on the tax front for the Conservatives, new announcements limited to a stamp duty increase for foreign buyers, edging a little closer to a Digital Services Tax, tweaks to the apprenticeship levy and another year of a fuel duty freeze. Various outriders would like to see more radical changes though – especially corporation tax cuts – and there are hints these might be considered depending on the outcome of the Brexit process.

Shadow Tax Minister Anneliese Dodds told our Labour Conference fringe debate that unilateral approaches are less effective than a joint approach across nations when it comes to taxing companies, but struck a hopeful note, saying there is ‘a lot of support for dealing with loopholes in the international tax system’.

The process under the Wales Act 2014 that enables the Welsh Government to introduce new taxes in areas of devolved responsibility subject to approval from the National Assembly for Wales and both Houses of Parliament, will be tested for the first time with the formal proposal for a vacant land tax going to the UK Government later this year. The work to gain the powers is only a first step, the development of detailed policy proposals will follow involving engagement with stakeholders and the public in accordance with the Welsh Government’s tax policy framework.

Chancellor Philip Hammond said in his Conservative Conference speech that Britain will unilaterally implement a digital service tax if there is no international agreement soon on how to tax big internet companies, blaming US tax reforms for slow multilateral progress. Speaking at a CIOT/IFS fringe debate at Conservative conference the next day, titled ‘What does fair business taxation look like in a digital world?’ Tax Minister Mel Stride said to ‘expect some things coming down the line’ from the Treasury on Hammond’s pledge.

There wasn’t much new tax policy announced at Labour conference (a levy on holiday homes was an exception) but there were plenty of pointers towards some potentially radical ideas being under consideration.

This is part of a series of reports on tax policy discussions at the main party conferences. Further reports will follow on the Conservative and SNP conferences, with a roundup of Lib Dem conference here.

Moira Kelly, chair of the CIOT's Scottish Technical Committee, wrote for the Scottish edition of The Times on 27 September 2018 on the steps the Scottish Government can take to improve scrutiny of devolved tax policy. Please click on the link above for the original article.

Meeting in Brighton for their annual autumn conference the Liberal Democrats passed two substantial tax motions covering taxation of wealth and capital, and the replacement of business rates with a land value-based levy. A number of other motions also touched on tax but did not significantly develop party tax policy. Work on corporate taxation continues. Unsurprisingly Brexit was the dominant issue of the conference.

The Chartered Institute of Taxation held a roundtable on Customs and Brexit, in Parliament, earlier this month. Glyn Fullelove, Deputy President, Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT), chaired the meeting and the parliamentary sponsor of the event was Kirsty Blackman MP.

In the last year a number of new measures have come into force or been announced to tackle tax avoidance and evasion. Jason Collins, a member of the CIOT’s Management of Taxes Sub-Committee, updates us on the developments since the guide he produced last year. This should help tax agents, journalists and others with an interest in tax compliance to cope with the tide of new measures in this area.