ICAEW.com works better with JavaScript enabled.


Spring Budget 2023: tracking tax consultations and reviews

Author: Lindsey Wicks

Published: 03 Mar 2023

Exclusive content
Access to our exclusive resources is for specific groups of students, users, members and subscribers.
ICAEW Taxline budget Jeremy Hunt Chancellor Exchequer government Downing Street

Ahead of the Spring Budget on 15 March, ICAEW’s Tax Faculty summarises the tax-related consultations and reviews that are underway.

HMRC’s tax policy consultation tracker was last updated on 18 November 2022, the date of the Autumn Statement. However, consultations have been released since that date. 

Other government departments are also consulting on areas that could have an impact on tax-related issues such as the labour market and cross-border trade. This article provides a reminder of the consultations where feedback is being reviewed, and other reviews and consultations in progress.

Consultations where feedback is being reviewed

It is notable from the table below that many of the consultations that closed just over a year ago (and earlier) have not yet been responded to by the government. This might be a reflection of the fact that we have had three prime ministers, four chancellors and three financial secretaries to the Treasury.

Many of the consultations that closed just over a year ago (and earlier) have not yet been responded to by the government

The Budget often provides an opportunity for the government to announce tax policy direction and publish consultation outcomes. Will a flurry of consultation outcomes be published on 15 March?

Topic Department Date consultation closed
ISAs and authorised open-ended property funds HMRC 13 December 2020
Enterprise Management Incentives: call for evidence HM Treasury 26 May 2021
ISA compliance and penalties HMRC 21 February 2022
Call for Evidence: umbrella company market HM Treasury 22 February 2022
Business Rates Review: Technical Consultation HM Treasury; Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities 22 February 2022
Landfill Tax Review: call for evidence HM Treasury 22 February 2022
Modernising tax debt collection from non-paying businesses HMRC 22 February 2022
Stamp Duty Land Tax: Mixed-property Purchases and Multiple Dwellings Relief HMRC 22 February 2022
Labour Market Enforcement Strategy 2023 to 2024: call for evidence Home Office, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy 31 May 2022
Income Tax: Low income trusts and estates draft legislation HMRC 18 July 2022
The taxation of decentralised finance involving the lending and staking of cryptoassets HMRC 31 August 2022
Sovereign immunity from direct taxation: consultation on policy design HM Treasury 12 September 2022
The UK Single Trade Window Cabinet Office 15 September 2022
Digitalising Business Rates: connecting business rates and tax data HMRC 30 September 2022
Improving the data HMRC collects from its customers HMRC 12 October 2022
Changes to HMRC statistics publications HMRC 16 January 2023
VAT treatment of fund management HM Treasury 3 February 2023
The Building Safety Levy Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities 7 February 2023
Audio-visual tax reliefs HM Treasury 9 February 2023

By the time of the Spring Budget, HM Treasury’s consultation on a single R&D tax relief scheme will also have closed. However, if responses are to be properly considered, the Budget will be too soon for any announcement on the direction of travel.

Other reviews

On Making Tax Digital (MTD), a review is underway of how MTD income tax self assessment should apply to small businesses and landlords, especially those with turnover under £30,000.

The Tax Administration Framework Review (TAFR) remains live. It should be remembered that TAFR initiated basis period reform. Two particular strands of work may lead to further consultations on compliance (Assessment Powers, Information & Inspection Powers and Civil Sanctions & Safeguards) and simplification (Registration, Filing and Record Keeping). Furthermore, an in-year calculation (timely payment) pilot is expected sometime in 2024.

Although the scope of work specifically excluded tax rates, Matt Warman MP’s Future of Work Review highlights the need for the government to consider four key areas, namely:

  • artificial intelligence and automation;
  • skills;
  • place and flexibility; and
  • worker’s rights (in particular resolving the tension between corporate tax structures and the resulting deficits in workers’ rights).

We didn’t have a Budget in 2022. However, the Spring Statement on 23 March set out various options for reforming the UK’s capital allowance regime. This was followed by a policy paper (rather than a consultation) in May 2022 – Potential Reforms to UK’s Capital Allowance Regime – Inviting views. While the annual investment allowance is to be permanently increased, are the other options still being considered?

The VAT treatment of electric vehicle charging is in a real muddle. Revenue and Customs Brief 1 (2022): reviewing how to claim VAT when charging electric vehicles for business purposes announced that HMRC is reviewing how VAT is claimed for the cost of charging electric vehicles that are used for business purposes and how to account for VAT for any private use. Chris Skidmore MP’s report Mission Zero: Independent Review of Net Zero also highlights that VAT is charged on domestic electricity bills at the reduced rate (5%), but is currently charged on public electric vehicle charging at the standard rate (20%). The review calls for these rates to be balanced, although it falls short of recommending a rate. The Budget could provide a platform for announcing a change.

Skidmore’s report also recommends that: “By autumn 2023, government should review how to incentivise greater R&D for net zero, including considering the role of clarity on research priorities and government support, tax credits, greater ring-fencing of R&D spend, and enabling regulations.” Similarly, the report suggests that HM Treasury considers a successor to the super-deduction tax relief with a focus on increasing investment in low-carbon technologies.

No doubt we will hear the word ‘simplification’. Responsibility for tax simplification now lies with HMRC and HM Treasury. The Office of Tax Simplification has created a considerable body of work. Will any of its recommendations be dusted off?

There remains the question of how HMRC’s project for raising standards in the tax advice market will evolve. The focus has recently moved to high-risk areas such as high-volume repayment agents and the research and development sector. Legislation is expected to prohibit deeds of assignment for income tax. Could there be a consultation on possible regulation of the tax profession?

Hear the Tax Faculty’s reaction to the Budget in its webinar on 17 March, 14:00-15:00.

Read ICAEW’s coverage of the Budget

Follow ICAEW’s Tax Faculty live on Twitter on Budget Day