Tax consultation deadlines extended: Covid-19

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HMRC and the Treasury have extended their tax policy consultation deadlines. They have set out revised timelines for tax policy consultation and other work in the light of the current Covid-19 crisis.

Government has extended the deadlines in order to allow more time for feedback but has declared that all planned reforms will still go ahead.

They have extended tax consultation deadlines for ten consultations and calls for evidence currently underway by three months.

These include the plastic packaging tax, a call for evidence on vehicle excise duty and a consultation on the HMRC Charter.

Earlier on 16 April, the government published a consultation on the Climate Change Agreement scheme extension and reforms for any future scheme.

The timetable for this will continue as planned, to ensure the extension of the scheme will be in place by September as announced at Budget 2020.

What did the government announce at budget 2020?

At Budget 2020, the government also announced it would publish a number of other tax policy documents. In the light of Covid-19, some of these will be delayed and the following documents will now be published over the spring and summer:
  • The call for evidence for the fundamental review of business rates;
  • The consultation on further entitlement to use red diesel;
  • The consultation on the design of a carbon emissions tax;
  • Consultation on National Insurance Contributions holiday for employers of veterans;
  • A call for evidence as part of the post-EU exit alcohol review;
  • A summary of responses to the call for evidence on the operation of insurance premium tax;
  • A summary of responses and government next steps to the aggregates levy review;
  •  HMRC’s civil information powers;
  • A summary of responses to the non-UK resident SDLT surcharge consultation;
  •  A summary of responses to the call for evidence on VAT electronic sales suppression; and
  • A review of how VAT works in the public sector.

 

Moreover, the government is to delay the publication of the following documents until the autumn:

  •  A discussion document on the wider application of tax conditionality;
  • The response to the call for evidence on simplification of the VAT partial exemption and capital goods schemes;
  • The consultation on whether qualifying R&D tax credit costs should include investments in data and cloud computing; and
  • The consultation on stronger penalties for tobacco tax evasion.

What other tax policy documents the government will publish?

There are also a number of tax policy documents which the government says it will publish in due course, but for which no definite timescale has been set out. Outstanding items include:

  • The consultation on aviation tax reform;
  • The call for evidence on disguised remuneration schemes;
  • The review of the UK funds regime;
  • The consultation on the economic crime levy;
  • The conclusion of the small brewers’ relief review; and
  • A summary of responses to the call for evidence on social investment tax relief.

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However, consultations on duty-free and tax-free goods carried by passengers and on the VAT treatment of overseas goods will continue to the existing timetable. So this is to provide businesses with clarity as early as possible on the policies that will apply from the end of the transition period, currently 1 January 2021, and enough time to prepare.

Jesse Norman, financial secretary to the Treasury, said: ‘Consulting on tax policy is crucial to good tax law. And a good consultation makes sure everyone with an interest in the subject has an opportunity to have their say.

He further stated ‘That is why we are extending these deadlines. The government is very grateful to the stakeholders who have already responded to these documents.

‘But it is also acutely aware that there may be others who want to contribute but cannot do so because of the current situation with Covid-19. This extension should help them to do so.’

 

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Chris Sanger, chair of the tax professionals forum and EY’s head of tax policy said: ‘Acting now to extend the deadlines for consultation is a welcome decision, as these consultations cover important issues that taxpayers need time to consider.

He also added ‘Given the current environment, attention will naturally and rightly be focused elsewhere.

‘An extra three months should allow sufficient time for engagement, whilst still enabling the government to deliver important tax policy changes within the current fiscal timetable.’

The government’s position on publication of tax policy documents will be kept updated through the public consultations tracker.

 

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