Call for evidence
The Finance Bill Sub-Committee, chaired by Lord Bridges of Headley, is appointed annually by the Economic Affairs Committee to consider the draft Finance Bill. The Sub-Committee focuses on issues of tax administration, clarification and simplification rather than on rates or incidence of tax.
The draft Finance Bill was published on 21 July 2020. The Sub-Committee’s inquiry intends to focus on three areas of the Bill in particular:
- New proposals for tackling promoters and enablers of tax avoidance schemes;
- New tax checks on licence renewal applications; and
- Amendments to HMRC’s civil information powers.
The Sub-Committee is also interested to hear views on the Government’s proposals on new notification requirements for uncertain tax treatments, and on the use of retrospective provisions in other areas of the draft Bill.
The Sub-Committee invites interested individuals and organisations to submit written evidence to this inquiry.
Written submissions are requested by 7 October 2020. After it has concluded its inquiry the Sub-Committee will make recommendations in a report to the House of Lords.
Areas of interest
The Sub-Committee welcomes views on any of the following questions relating to the areas of focus. In relation to the new proposals for tackling promoters, the Sub-Committee would welcome comments on the related calls for evidence issued by HM Revenue & Customs on raising standards in the tax advice market and on tackling disguised remuneration schemes, as well as the draft legislation itself and related consultation document.
The Sub-Committee is interested to know about the real-life experiences of individuals and organisations, as well as more general responses. There is no obligation to answer every question.
New proposals for tackling promoters and enablers of tax avoidance schemes
1. How effective are the existing powers of HMRC in tackling promoters and enablers of tax avoidance schemes?
2. What has been your experience of the Promoters of Tax Avoidance Schemes (POTAS) rules and the enablers rules in practice?
3. Are HMRC’s communications likely to be effective in informing potential scheme users about schemes, and so deter them from participating?
4. How effective will the proposed measures be against those who promote aggressive tax avoidance schemes, and in informing and deterring potential scheme users? What else could HMRC be doing in this area?
5. Are the safeguards being proposed sufficient to ensure an appropriate balance is struck between HMRC and taxpayer?
New tax checks on licence renewal applications
6. Are the proposals for tax checks on licence renewal applications fair and proportionate? How effective is the legislation likely to be, and is any amendment needed?
7. What is your view of the principle of conditionality and its use in the tax system?
8. How do you view the Government’s stated intention to extend conditionality to Scotland and Northern Ireland, as well as to other trades?
9. Could the problems this measure is designed to address have been tackled effectively by other means? If so, what are they?
Amendments to HMRC’s civil information powers
10. What is your view of the removal of the requirement to obtain tax tribunal approval before issuing a Financial Institution Notice? Are the safeguards promised instead adequate and, if not, what more should be done?
11. Is the scope of the new power in terms of the information to be reported to HMRC appropriate and sufficiently clear?
12. How can the need for adequate taxpayer safeguards and timely international exchange of information be balanced? What steps should be taken to ensure that taxpayer safeguards are not treated as dispensable when they make it more difficult to meet other obligations?
Other measures of interest
The Sub-Committee is also interested in the proposed introduction of new requirements for certain businesses to notify uncertain tax treatments, where the business considers that HMRC may have a different view of the tax treatment to its own. We welcome general views on this proposal.
In addition, the Government proposes to make certain technical amendments to the corporate interest restriction retrospective to 2017. The Sub-Committee is interested in views on the impact and appropriateness of proposed retrospective measures in the Finance Bill, in relation to uncertainty within the tax system.
Guidance for submissions
Written evidence should be submitted online using the written submission form available at https://committees.parliament.uk/submission/#/evidence/242/preamble. If you have difficulty submitting evidence online, please contact the Sub-Committee staff by email at FINANCEBILL@parliament.uk or by telephoning 020 7219 6612.
The deadline for written evidence is 7 October 2020.
Submissions should be short, concise, and of no more than six pages. Submissions of between four and six pages should include a one-page summary. Paragraphs should be numbered. Submissions should be dated, and should state clearly whether the submission is made in a personal capacity or on behalf of an organisation.
Where possible, comments on particular parts of the draft Bill should specify which clause they refer to.
All submissions made through the written submission form will be acknowledged automatically by email. You do not have to address every question in our call for evidence. Submissions which have been published previously will not be accepted as evidence.
Submissions become the property of the Sub-Committee, which will decide whether to accept them as evidence. Evidence may be published by the Sub-Committee at any stage; when it is so published it becomes subject to parliamentary copyright and is protected by parliamentary privilege.
You will be contacted again to confirm whether your submission has been accepted as evidence; at this point you may publicise or publish your evidence yourself. In doing so you must indicate that it was prepared for the Sub-Committee, and you should be aware that your publication or re-publication of your evidence may not be protected by parliamentary privilege.
You should be careful not to comment on individual cases currently before a court of law. If you anticipate such issues arising, you should discuss with the Clerk of the Sub-Committee how this might affect your submission.
Personal contact details will be removed from evidence before publication but will be retained by the House of Lords Committee Office and used for specific purposes relating to the Sub-Committee’s work, for instance to seek additional information.
Persons who submit written evidence, and others, may be invited to give oral evidence. Oral evidence is usually given in public and broadcast online; transcripts are also taken and published online. Persons invited to give oral evidence will be notified of the procedure to be followed and the topics likely to be discussed. All Sub-Committee meetings are planned to be held virtually using the Zoom application.
Substantive communications to the Sub-Committee about the inquiry should be addressed to the Clerk of the Sub-Committee, whether or not they are intended to constitute formal evidence to the Sub-Committee.
This is a public call for evidence. Please bring it to the attention of other groups and individuals who may not have received a copy directly.
Diversity comes in many forms, and hearing a range of different perspectives means that Select Committees are better informed and can scrutinise public policy and legislation more effectively. Committees can undertake their role most effectively when they hear from a wide range of individuals, sectors or groups in society affected by a particular policy or piece of legislation. The Sub-Committee encourages anyone with experience or expertise of this issue to share their views, in the full knowledge that their views have value and are welcome.
You may follow the progress of the inquiry at: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/230/finance-bill-subcommittee/
This call for written evidence has now closed.Go back to Draft Finance Bill 2020-21 Inquiry