Other news in brief

A round up of other news this week.

A round up of other news this week.

In March 2021 the Financial Secretary to the Treasury announced the Treasury’s first five-year review of the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS), as required by Finance Act 2016. A call for evidence has now been published seeking stakeholder’s views on the effectiveness of the OTS, focusing on areas including its objectives and functions, its relationships with HMRC and HM Treasury, its work to date and the impact of its work on the Government’s approach to tax simplification. The call for evidence also seeks views on what steps can be taken to enhance the effectiveness of the OTS in the future. The call for evidence will remain open until 6 July 2021 and the outcomes of the review will be published in Autumn 2021.

The Queen’s Speech took place on 11 May 2021, setting out the Government’s priorities for the upcoming session. There were few tax updates, however there were measures worth noting in respect of the National Insurance Contributions Bill (refer to our separate article) and the announcement of a Subsidy Control Bill, which will set out the UK’s own subsidy control system to replace EU State Aid rules.

The Conference of the Parties to the MLI has approved an opinion setting out a series of guiding principles for addressing questions about the interpretation and implementation of the MLI. The opinion contains six guiding principles, including on the object and purpose of the MLI, the interaction between provisions of the MLI and the provisions of Covered Tax Agreements, the boundaries of the consent given by each Contracting Jurisdiction to modify their Covered Tax Agreement and the use of notification clauses to ensure clarity and transparency.

HMRC have provided an update regarding the application of the proposed uncertain tax treatment notification (UTT) regime to the banking sector. HMRC have confirmed that they no longer plan to include the bank levy or bank corporation tax surcharge within the scope of the UTT regime. The resulting reduction in the administrative burden for banks will be welcome. HMRC have also provided some additional clarity around the interaction between the UTT regime and banks’ obligations under the Banking Code of Conduct (the Code). Whilst HMRC accept that not everything reportable under the UTT regime should also be discussed with HMRC under the Code, if there is a failure to report something under the UTT regime then this is likely to prompt a conversation about whether there has been a breach of the governance/relationship aspects of the Code.

A consultation has been announced by HMRC on draft statutory instruments published for the Disclosure of Tax Avoidance Schemes (DOTAS), Disclosure of Avoidance Schemes for VAT and Other Indirect Taxes (DASVOIT) and Promoters of Tax Avoidance Schemes (POTAS), which make amendments to the existing regulations as a result of the provisions in Finance Bill 2021. The draft statutory instruments would take effect on 9 September 2021. The consultation closes on 13 June 2021.

Paul Martin, UK Head of Retail in the UK, discusses April’s BRC-KPMG monthly Retail Sales Monitor, which shows physical retail delivered a strong bounce-back performance after re-opening.