When a Chancellor’s room for manoeuvre in the Budget is highly constrained, what emerges tends towards the predictable. Wednesday’s Autumn 2017 Budget is a case in point. Economic outlook The downgrade to economic growth forecasts by the Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR) was severe, and could have profound long-term consequences. But it was hardly surprising … More A predictable Budget for business taxes
As Philip Hammond prepares for his Budget on Wednesday, he faces a daunting set of constraints, both economic and political. The economic side On the economic side, the news since the March Budget has not been universally bad. Tax receipts are higher than forecast, while spending is lower, leading to a reduction in debt. However, it is … More What might we expect for business taxes in the Autumn Budget?
Three stories on tax and multinationals hit the press last week. They attracted varying levels of attention – from BBC news headlines to erudite debates on the tax Twittersphere – and were of varying degrees of importance. As usual there was, if anything, an inverse correlation between their importance and the noise they generated. But … More Three stories on tax and multinationals: are we losing our collective memory?
Tax incentives – the start of a debate? The tax community has long been exercised about the differences in taxation/NI between the employed and the self-employed. In 2010, the IFS’s Mirrlees review recommended reducing the distortions by moving towards greater neutrality. By the time the review was published, the distortion had been exacerbated by an … More Tax and the Taylor Review
Back in 1988, the economist Larry Summers explained why the US had no VAT: ”Liberals think it’s regressive and conservatives think it’s a money machine. If they reverse their positions, the VAT may happen.” Nearly 30 years later, the US still doesn’t have a VAT. But recent tax reform proposals by the Republican party would bring … More US tax reform: badly needed, but is the destination right?
One answer to that question might be “when it’s a probate fee”. The government has announced a new regime for probate fees, linked to the value of estates, which will replace the current fixed fee from May this year. Instead of the current £215 (or £155 through a solicitor), executors will pay on a sliding … More When is a tax not a tax?
At the Autumn Statement in November, the Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR) seemed to betray a certain frustration with the lack of information available about the government’s plans for Brexit. As I noted in my blog, flagging up a change in the OBR’s remit, the OBR confessed in its Economic and Fiscal Outlook (EFO) to … More The dog that didn’t bark in the Budget
The government’s response to the consultation on “Making Tax Digital” – requiring businesses to keep digital records and make quarterly updates to HMRC – was published this week, together with draft legislation. But, rather like Theresa May at a press conference, the government doesn’t answer some of the big questions. Businesses, agents and rep bodies … More Making Tax Digital: fundamental questions remain unanswered
Last Thursday’s FT carried an intriguing story about a German tax avoidance scheme with €billions at stake: the so-called “cum-cum” dividend-stripping device. While we generally think of the Germans as highly disciplined, this looked like an example of complete chaos. And the aggressive artificiality of the scheme took me back to the dark ages of … More Scandal in Frankfurt: tax avoidance pays dividends for German banks
The Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR) has been the subject of much comment since Wednesday’s Autumn Statement. But the fact that its remit has been changed seems to have passed largely unnoticed. Tucked away among the hundreds of pages of supporting documents is a revised draft Charter for Budget Responsibility. The charter fulfils a dual … More OBR can no longer shock us