Opinion 

Chancellor remains tight lipped on tax

Sue Moore

Sue Moore

The Chancellor was true to his word and did not use the Spring Statement to make tax or policy announcements.

Several consultations/calls for evidence were published to coincide with the statement, the results of which may help the Chancellor to formulate his proposals for the Autumn Budget.

VAT

Following on from the Office of Tax Simplification’s review of VAT there is a call for evidence on the VAT registration threshold, currently £85,000.

Businesses can register voluntarily if their turnover is less than the threshold but it is compulsory if turnover exceeds £85,000 and this is seen as a cliff edge by many businesses.

Once registered for VAT, the business has to make VAT returns, increasing the administrative burden and increasing their charges to the customer by 20 per cent VAT.

As a result, some businesses restrict their growth in order to stay below the threshold which overall could hamper the economic growth of the economy.

The call for evidence suggests ways the administrative and financial burden can be smoothed.

Business rates

Business rates are often cited as the reason local high streets are struggling.

In the 2016 Budget the then Chancellor promised more frequent revaluations for the purpose of assessing business rates and the consultation published at the time explored ways in which this could be achieved.

The results of the consultation are published as part of the Spring Statement.

In future, valuations will be carried out every three years as announced in the Autumn Budget 2017, rather than every five years. 

The next revaluation will be brought forward a year to 2021 and the Valuation Office Agency will continue to be involved, with self assessment being shelved - for now at least.

Pollution

The BBC series, The Blue Planet, narrated by Sir David Attenborough brought plastic pollution in the world's oceans to the forefront of the nation’s conscience, including the government’s.

The call for evidence published in the suite of papers from the Spring Statement is looking for ways the tax system, more by carrot than stick, can reduce the proliferation of single use plastics.

Sue Moore is technical manager at the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales

Comments