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Finance Bill 2017 legislates new tax changes

Finance Bill 2017 introduces measures to make the tax system fairer while modernising it for the digital age

Finance Bill 2017 continues the government’s crackdown on tax avoidance, helps tackle childhood obesity, and improves the fairness of the tax system while modernising it for the digital age.

The bill will help tackle childhood obesity, by introducing the soft drinks industry levy originally announced at Budget 2016, to encourage producers to reduce added sugar in their drinks.

Spring Budget 2017 also confirmed that the Department for Education will be funded with the full £1 billion originally expected from the soft drinks industry levy this Parliament to give children a better and healthier future, including investment in school sports and healthy living programmes.

Since 2010, HMRC has secured around £140 billion in additional tax revenue as a result of tackling avoidance, evasion and non-compliance – helping the UK to achieve one of the lowest tax gaps in the world. This Finance Bill will continue this robust action with measures which will raise over £1 billion by 2021/22, including:

  • introducing a new penalty for those who enable the use of tax avoidance schemes that are later defeated by HMRC (announced at Autumn Statement 2016)
  • deterring those who try to gain an unfair tax advantage by transferring their pension abroad (announced at Spring Budget 2017)
  • preventing businesses from attempting to exploit flexibility in the tax code to minimise their tax bill, by converting capital losses into trading losses (announced at Spring Budget 2017)
  • preventing the use of disguised remuneration schemes which help people avoid tax (announced at Budget 2016 and Autumn Statement 2016)

Jane Ellison, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, said:

With this Finance Bill we continue to take important steps towards a fair and sustainable tax system, that raises and protects the revenues needed to fund public services and ensures those with the broadest shoulders contribute the most.

The bill also introduces measures to make the tax system fairer and enhance the sustainability of our public finances, by:

  • ensuring that large businesses pay the right amount of tax in line with OECD recommendations that prevent them from reducing their taxable profits with excessive interest (announced at Budget 2016);
  • ensuring that corporations making substantial profits cannot offset all their tax liability with past losses (announced at Budget 2016);
  • ending the permanency of non-dom status (announced at Summer Budget 2015) while encouraging greater investment in the UK through expanding the Business Investment Relief (announced at Autumn Statement 2016)
  • reforming the rules around salary sacrifice (announced at Autumn Statement 2016)

Finally, Finance Bill 2017 will help modernise the tax system for the digital age by legislating for Making Tax Digital changes. These reforms will help businesses get their tax right the first time, putting them more in control of their tax affairs. To give smaller business more time to prepare, Spring Budget 2017 announced that businesses with turnover below the VAT registration threshold will have an extra year, until April 2019, before the introduction of digital record-keeping and quarterly updates.

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