Spring Statement 2019
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, delivered his Spring Statement to Parliament on Wednesday 13 March.
As expected, the Spring Statement on 13 March announced few new tax consultations, putting most of its focus on stressing the benefits of a Brexit deal. Most of the detail we did get on tax measures was set out in an accompanying written ministerial statement. The Chancellor did confirm that the Government will hold a Spending Review which will conclude alongside the next Budget. This will set departmental budgets, including three-year budgets for resource spending, if an EU exit deal is agreed.
Among the tax announcements made, the Chancellor referred to his plans for a Digital Services Tax, reiterating that global tech giants should pay their fair share of tax as part of a drive (including new regulation) that ensures a digital economy that works for everyone. A Government response to the recent consultation is promised, but no date was given. There was, however, a major new report published on digital competition, including recommendations to update the UK’s regulatory policy to incorporate digital activity.
We also received confirmation of a light touch approach to penalties in the first year of implementation of Making Tax Digital (MTD). Where businesses are doing their best to comply, no filing or record keeping penalties will be issued. The focus will be on helping businesses transition, and the Government will therefore not be mandating MTD for any new taxes or businesses in 2020. Among the four consultation documents issued was the draft legislation on the new Structures and Buildings Allowance (which already applies from 29 October 2018).
Details of new consultations and Government responses to consultations to be published in the coming months were given, but without an indication of dates. It may be that Government responses accompany the draft legislation for next year’s Finance Act, expected in July.
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