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Tax news in brief


Published: 04 Aug 2021 Update History

Highlights from the broader tax news week ending 4 Aug, which includes: confirmation of closure of UK customs systems; updated guidance on cross-border NI and social security payments; OBR forecast requested for late October; and time limit to opt to tax land reverts to 30 days, but e-signatures remain.

Chancellor requests OBR economic forecast for late October

Rishi Sunak has asked the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) to prepare an economic and fiscal forecast to be presented on 27 October 2021. Confirmation came in a letter from the Chancellor to Mel Stride, chair of the Treasury Select Committee, published on 29 July. The request has prompted speculation of a fiscal event, whether a Budget or a Comprehensive Spending Review, to coincide with its publication.

Time limit to opt to tax land reverts to 30 days, but e-signatures remain

HMRC has confirmed that the temporary extension to time limits to notify an option to tax land and buildings has ended. Taxpayers were given 90 days to notify HMRC of an option from 15 February 2020 to 31 July 2021 in light of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. For option decisions made from 1 August 2021 the time limit has reverted to 30 days. Another temporary change introduced due to COVID was the acceptance of electronic signatures on options to tax. In an update to guidance on 1 August HMRC has confirmed that this change has now been made permanent. Read more.

Updated guidance on cross-border NI and social security payments

Following an agreement with the Swiss government on how to apply the UK-Switzerland 1968 Social Security Convention, HMRC has revised and restructured its guidance on cross-border social security contributions for workers. Its guidance on social security contributions relating to workers coming to the UK from the European Economic Area or Switzerland now has four sections: paying social security contributions in the UK while working in the UK, working in the UK, when you’ll pay social security contributions in the UK and how to apply for a certificate or document. Meanwhile, its guidance on national insurance for workers from the UK working in the EEA or Switzerland now has a section dealing with working in Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland separate from working in the EU.

Closure of UK customs systems confirmed

HMRC has confirmed the phased move to a single customs platform over the next 19 months. The Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system will not process import declarations from 30 September 2022 and close fully on 31 March 2023. The National Exports System will also close on 31 March 2023. From that date all goods declarations will be made through the Customs Declaration Service (CDS), which currently processes declarations for Northern Ireland and the Rest of the World. Find out more

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