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Removal of IR35 only major change in Finance Bill

19 March 2020: the government has published Finance Bill 2020 with few changes in light of the COVID-19 crisis, with support expected to come through other channels.

The deletion of provisions relating to the off-payroll working regime (announced on 17 March) is the most significant change to the Finance Bill 2020 in light of the current economic situation.

At 186 pages Finance Bill 2020 is one of the shortest Finance Bills in recent history and largely contains measures as outlined in the draft Bill issued in July 2019.

Alongside the removal of the IR35 measures, another change from the 2019 draft Bill is a delay to amendments to insolvency rules that would see more assets being distributed to HMRC. These rules had been due to come into effect in April and have now been delayed until 1 December 2020.

It is expected that the Budget announcements aimed at supporting business, individuals and other organisations through the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak, will be included in the COVID-19 Bill or enacted through secondary legislation.

Measures announced in the Spring Budget that have been incorporated into the Bill, include the lowering of the entrepreneurs’ relief lifetime limit to £1m from £10m. Entrepreneurs’ relief will also be renamed as ‘business asset disposal relief’.

As it stands it is not clear how quickly the Finance Bill 2020 will be passed into law, with the date of the second reading not yet announced. In the meantime, the Tax Faculty would welcome any comments on the Bill.