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The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) held an oral evidence session on HMRC's performance, on Monday 30 April 2018. The witnesses were Jon Thompson, Permanent Secretary, HMRC, and Jim Harra, Second Permanent Secretary, HMRC. Chair Meg Hillier, Labour, opened the hearing by comparing this ‘catch-up’ session with HMRC to the BBC show Mastermind, given the likely range of questions on taxation by MPs directed towards the tax authority’s representatives 

The House of Commons has passed a motion calling on the Government to include the establishment of an effective UK-EU customs union as an objective in Brexit negotiations. The motion was passed without a vote after the Government instructed its MPs to abstain and most opponents of such a customs union stayed away. (The full motion appears at the bottom of this report.)

 

The Treasury Committee began its inquiry into tax avoidance and evasion this week (17), with a session with two witnesses: David Richardson, Interim Director-General, Customer Strategy and Tax Design, HMRC and Esther Wallington, Chief People Officer, HMRC.

The Government have been heavily defeated on a cross-party amendment to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill calling for them to explore a customs union with the EU, during report stage in the House of Lords.

I sometimes need to do a double take when it comes to international tax. We read of double taxation, double non-taxation, double tax treaties, double tax relief. It is enough to make anyone see double. It is time to double down on our efforts to clear up any confusion.

The House of Commons Treasury Committee has launched a report on Childcare, recommending the Government:

This is a report on the House of Commons Westminster Hall debate on digital taxation held on 27 March 2018. The discussion focused on proposals for an online turnover tax for big tech firms, but also saw discussion of the Making Tax Digital (MTD) programme. Conservative Neil O’Brien asked for the debate.

Financial Secretary to the Treasury (FST) Mel Stride has confirmed to MPs that both options put forward by the UK Government for post-Brexit UK-EU customs arrangements remain in play.

 

The Lords waited until Thursday (15) before debating the Chancellor’s Spring Statement. Some of the speakers reflected on Chancellor Hammond’s stating that ‘There is light at the end of the tunnel’ for the UK’s public finances.

Chancellor Philip Hammond updated Parliament on the state of the economy and the nation's finances in the Spring Statement. There were no tax announcements made, as this was not a fiscal event, but a number of consultations were launched. These ranged from reforming the corporate tax regime to address the challenges of the digital economy to whether the design of the VAT registration threshold can incentivise small businesses to grow.