Finance Bill condensed as we all go to the polls
Following concerns over a rushed Finance Bill, the government has dropped several pieces of legislation during the Finance Bill committee stage debate – deleting 72 out of 135 clauses and 18 out of 29 schedules.
The Association of Taxation Technicians (ATT) welcomed the government’s decision to condense the pre-election Finance Bill and exclude legislation regarding allowances for micro-enterprises. The dropped measures are likely to be taken up in a post-election Finance Bill when there can be greater parliamentary scrutiny.
The proposed legalisation concerned allowances for very small trading and property businesses, starting 6 April 2017. While the allowances were a welcome measure, ATT previously expressed concern that the legislation was overly complex and created unnecessary complications within the practical working of the new allowances.
The complicated side-effects of this legislation confounded the original goal to “provide simplicity and certainty regarding income tax obligations on small amounts of income from providing goods, services, property or other assets”, as stated in the explanatory notes to the Finance Bill. The measures included provision of full tax relief on the profits of businesses with gross receipts of a maximum of £1,000, in addition to provisions for an optional entitlement to a £1,000 deduction, in place of normal deductions, for businesses with gross receipts over £1,000.
Yvette Nunn, co-chair of ATT’s Technical Steering Group, commented: “The ATT saw the original idea behind the allowances as having the potential to reduce the administrative burden on very small businesses, remove the need to consider whether a micro-enterprise really was a taxable business and to regularise the current non-reporting of the income of such businesses.”
“We have been concerned that the Finance Bill provisions that were drafted to implement these two simple and very modest allowances in relation to trading and property micro-enterprises ended up introducing so many complexities, uncertainties and anomalies that would prejudice the understanding, take-up and practical working of the new allowances.”
“The exclusion of this legislation from the pre-election Finance Act and the strong probability that provisions will be included in a post-election Finance Bill give an opportunity for reconsideration by HMRC of how to ensure that the allowances are as user-friendly as possible and greater Parliamentary scrutiny. The Association will be pleased to provide whatever assistance it can to make sure that any revised proposals are as straightforward and understandable as possible.”