In order to ensure that the Finance Bill 2017, introduced March 2017, is passed before the impending general election, huge chunks of the original, published bill have been removed. In the national press this has been referred to as a “wash-up”.
Significant legislation has been side-lined in the process. For example, the following charging provisions have been removed:
- Rules to introduce the further digitisation of tax payer records by requiring that certain sectors of the self-employed will need to upload quarterly data to HMRC from April 2018, all unincorporated businesses by April 2019. The so-called, Making Tax Digital processes.
- The reduction of the tax-free dividend allowance from £5,000 to £2,000 from April 2018.
- Many of the anti-avoidance, counter legislation changes.
- The reduction in the pensions money purchase allowance.
The national press is keen to speculate that some or all of these removed clauses will not be reintroduced after the election. Much will depend on who wins the election, but if Mrs May re-enters Downing Street, a second Finance Bill for 2017, to represent the missing clauses, seems likely.
Like so much in politics these days, we will have to wait until the ink has dried on the voting slips, and the count completed, before the re-introduced legislation or new tax changes are considered.
Business owners are to some extent in limbo as the Making Tax changes, although heavily promoted by HMRC, are now without charging provisions in the Taxes Acts. Many businesses, and their advisors, are presently trialling the electronic upload of data to HMRC, so it is difficult to see that this entire raft of legislation will be permanently withdrawn. We will have to wait and see.