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Tax reporting for small businesses and the self-employed

19 January 2016

MPs debate an e-petition relating to tax reporting for small businesses and the self-employed. The debate was scheduled by the Petitions Committee following a petition which was started on petition.parliament.uk.

The debate, led by Oliver Dowden MP, a member of the Petitions Committee, starts at 4.30pm on Monday 25 January in Westminster Hall. The debate is on the motion: "That this House has considered e-petition 115895 relating to tax reporting for small businesses and the self-employed."

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  • What do you want discussed in the petition debate?
  • What do you think about the Government's response to this petition?
  • What questions you would like the Government to answer?
  • Share your thoughts using #HoCpetitions on Twitter.

Please tweet your views no later than 10am on Thursday 21 January.

The summary of the comments received can be found in the House of Commons Library briefing which has been provided for MPs in advance of the debate.

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You could contact your MP directly to tell them why this debate is important to you and suggest any points you would like them to raise.

Find your MP and their contact information.

Why is this e-petition being debated?

The Petitions Committee has the power to schedule debates on e-petitions in the House of Commons Second Chamber, Westminster Hall. It considers all petitions which receive over 100,000 signatures for debate but may decide to schedule debates for petitions under this threshold.

In deciding which petitions should be debated, it takes into account how many people have signed the petition, the topicality of the issue raised, and whether the issue has recently been debated in Parliament.

What will the e-petition debate achieve?

Debates on e-petitions in Westminster Hall are general debates about the issues raised by the e-petition. MPs can discuss the petition and, if they wish, ask questions about the Government's position on the issue or press the Government to take action. A Government Minister takes part in the debate and answers the points raised. These debates help to raise the profile of a campaign and could influence decision-making in Government and Parliament.

E-petition debates in Westminster Hall cannot directly change the law or result in a vote to implement the request of the petition. Creating new laws, or changing existing ones, can only be done through the parliamentary legislative process which involves a number of debates, and detailed consideration of the law in draft, in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. This process is normally started by the Government, although there are some ways in which individual MPs or members of the House of Lords who are not in the Government (known as "backbenchers") can ask Parliament to consider new laws.

The Petitions Committee

The Petitions Committee was set up in July 2015 to consider all petitions started on petition.parliament.uk as well as the traditional public (paper) petitions presented by MPs.

As well as scheduling debates on petitions, the Committee can also conduct inquiries of its own. The Committee works closely with other House of Commons Select Committees to help connect petitioners with the work of Parliament. 

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