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Tax Day brings detailed consultations but little cheer for self-employed
by Susie Hughes at 12:23 24/03/21 (News on Business)
The UK's first Tax Day (March 23, 3021) was marked more by consultations and calls for evidence than any significant announcements of reform to the tax system.
There were more than 30 updates, consultations and documents published in what was described by the Government as 'a move to strengthen policymaking and help create a more trusted, simple and modern tax system'.

The policy updates, consultations and documents that would traditionally be published at Budget have been released as part of the ‘Tax policies and consultations update (Spring 2021)’ – allowing more space for scrutiny from stakeholders.

Nothing was published with regard to the taxation of self employed people or changes to capital gains tax, which had been the subject of speculation in some quarters.

Among the publications are:

  • A call for evidence on the tax administration framework, to create a trusted, modern tax administration system that is simpler, easier to navigate, and meets the needs of taxpayers.
  • A consultation on potential changes to Air Passenger Duty
  • An interim report on the Government’s Fundamental Review of Business Rates
  • tightening tax rules for second property owners regarding business rates and holiday lets.
  • cutting inheritance tax red tape for more than 200,000 estates every year
  • clamping down on promoters of tax avoidance schemes
  • considering whether tax advisers should be required to hold professional indemnity insurance to help raise standards
  • whether the current timing and frequency of tax payments are appropriate
  • a call for evidence on how the legislation underpinning HMRC’s administration of the tax system could be updated.

Contractor tax specialists Qdos called ont he Government to take this opportunity to reform the tax system for the self-employed.

Seb Maley from Qdos said:“If the Government wants to modernise the tax system, they must explore ways to make tax actually work for the self-employed. For far too long, the self-employed have been hit hardest by reckless tax hikes and short-sighted reforms. It’s time for change.

"The Government have an opportunity to build a fairer tax system, but whether they actually do it remains to be seen. I’m sceptical. By ignoring IR35, which is arguably the elephant in the room, you could say they’ve already made their position clear.

“While plans to crack down on tax avoidance schemes are welcome, action speaks louder than words and for many, it’s too little too late. It’s no secret that more must be done to stop the rise of tax avoidance schemes, which pose a huge threat to freelancers and contractors. HMRC must aggressively pursue these schemes, not punish those who have fallen victim to them.”

John Cullinane, Director of Public Policy for the Chartered Institute of Taxation, said: "We welcome the establishment of a ‘tax consultation day’ in addition to the Budget as an opportunity for more focused scrutiny of tax measures and for broadening the public conversation about tax.

"Early and open consultation, seeking views and ideas as widely as possible at the earliest possible stage of policy development, leads to better tax law, which is in the interests of both taxpayers and their advisers, and the tax authority. We look forward to responding to the consultations launched today and encourage others to do likewise."

Anita Monteith, from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales Tax Faculty Technical Manager, said: "Tax consultations were often lost in the crowd of announcements on Budget Day, so the move to publish them separately will give the proposals more focus and emphasise the Government’s commitment to sincere and open discussions on the future of tax.

"We hope these consultations stimulate debate and responses are used to guide changes to the tax system. We look forward to responding in due course."

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Susie Hughes © Shout99 2021

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