Working towards improvement in taxing times
Learn more about the LSCA taxation committee from Chairman of the LSCA taxation Committee, Adrian Mansbridge.
What is the LSCA Taxation Committee and what does it actually do? To start with, it has been making representations to HMRC and the Treasury for many years. Like all LSCA committees it relies on volunteers prepared to give their time and expertise in the field of taxation to try and help improve all aspects of the tax system. We are very fortunate to have an extraordinarily talented group of people from practices of all sizes, including the Big Four through medium firms to sole practitioners including the author of this article. We are fortunate to have members working outside the profession and retired tax experts who make significant contributions, and members who lecture on tax and add an academic as well as a practical view by use of examples.
We perform our tasks in a variety of ways. First, we go through the numerous consultation papers issued by HMRC and the Treasury to look at what is being planned. We put together responses that point out practical and legislative problems with proposals and, as appropriate, alternative ideas. We review and comment on draft legislation, highlight anomalies and potential drafting errors and also practical consequences that may be undesirable. The ICAEW Tax Faculty is represented so we have a two-way dialogue. When government departments look at representations, often numbers count. We represent 37,000 members in London and state that in our correspondence. The committee aims to have three or four regular meetings each year, plus a special meeting to discuss the Budget and/or Finance Bill proposals as appropriate.
In addition to responding to consultation and other papers issued by HM Treasury or HMRC, the committee also responds to papers from other bodies affecting taxation and makes representations about problems that members have identified with the implementation of certain tax provisions or matters such as the Trust Registration Service. It also sometimes engages in correspondence with Senior Policy Specialists at HMRC about particular issues.
The committee’s representations are sometimes picked up more widely, such as those that it sent to the Chancellor and other relevant government and opposition Ministers and MPs in April 2020 concerning some of the Finance Bill 2019-21 draft clauses, which were raised in a meeting of the Public Bill Committee held on 9 June 2020. The committee made representations in April 2021 to the Rt Hon Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP, Minister of State for Business, Energy and Clean Growth, about the tax treatment of the sale back of renewable energy to the grid in multi-occupancy premises. Tax policy and ‘green’ issues are important in the current environment. There will be more on green issues in October’s London Accountant.
Several members serve on various HMRC working groups on particular topics, as well as on various ICAEW groups dealing with specific tax issues, and they report back to the committee on any significant proposals and developments. Our members regularly write articles for London Accountant. Tony Jenkins contributed tax case updates last December and February, April, June and August 2021. Articles about Pension Tax savings and High Income Child Benefit charge (February 2021); EIS loss (March 2021); Inheritance Tax exemptions-Non domiciled spouse or civil partner (June 2021); the tax administration framework (June 2021); and timely payments (August 2021) all came from committee members. Coming up in September is another tax case synopsis and in October Sharon Cooke flags potential headaches from MTD and the proposals for changes to accounting dates. An article by Michael Quinlan entitled ‘IR35, reform of employment law and the invisible elephant in the room’ is also on its way.
With an educational hat on, the committee organises a Budget Breakfast with the support of the ICAEW London Region, and this has become a flagship event for the LSCA.
The last 18 months have seen a restriction on how we operate, so we continued through video meetings. Pre-COVID we have, in the past, been invited to send representatives to the Treasury to discuss particular tax issues impacting particular taxpayers, or tax administration and the impact on practitioners.
We have also considered anomalies in the tax system for the least well off and how tax and social security matters can impact vulnerable members of society.
I am in awe of the brain power around the table when we meet and how we are kept in good shape by our administrator, Gay Jordan, with support from London Region. As I approach my 20th year as Chair, the challenges that face us in the changing tax world seem as varied now as when I started!