Welcome to the December 2018 Technical Newsdesk

The single fiscal event and new Budget timetable now mean that the latter months of the calendar year are busy times for the CIOT, ATT and LITRG technical teams.

We were asked to send our analysis of the Autumn Budget to the House of Commons Treasury Committee just two days after the Budget, so by 31 October – a deadline which we met thanks to the input of the team and a number of our volunteers. I report on our submission. In the same short timescale, LITRG produced its analysis of the Budget as it affects those on low to modest incomes. Take a look on our websites for our various Budget activities.

Following publication of the Finance Bill on 7 November, the technical teams (again, assisted by our volunteers) have been reviewing the Bill to understand the legislative measures and identify any problem areas or unintended consequences, so that we can raise them with HMRC. We also provide briefings to assist MPs scrutinising the Bill (you may recall George Crozier’s article on why we do these). It would seem that, this year, we will have a condensed period of scrutiny, meaning that by the time this issue of Tax Adviser is published we will be most of the way through the committee debates. The Bill is also likely to receive Royal Assent before Christmas, meaning one thing crossed off the technical teams’ lists before the festive break, but it does question the level of scrutiny that the Bill can reasonably receive during such a limited timeframe.

But the aforementioned ‘to do’ lists are still lengthy! High on them is Making Tax Digital, and we are seeing rapidly increasing amounts of software, HMRC communications and testing, now that the pilot has been opened up to many more businesses. It is also great to hear queries and comments from members as I do my ‘tour’ of branches speaking about MTD – and we have another list: this one being queries we have raised with HMRC about MTD. Keep an eye on our websites for more information.

Although I would recommend reading all this month’s articles, I would just like to highlight one more – our meeting with the minister. We see the minister periodically and focus on what we consider to be particularly key issues. Reflecting the feedback we have received (and continue to receive) from our members, we raised three main topics: MTD, Working Together and HMRC conduct. On the latter two issues in particular, we are responding to concerns raised by members. We had constructive discussions on all three topics and will keep working on them as areas of priority.