UK tax law is specifically targeted rather than purposive: in tackling the exploitation of loopholes in the law, governments have legislated against individual avoidance schemes as and when these have come to light. This note looks at the case that has been made recently for a general anti-avoidance rule, and the Coalition Government's introduction of a 'narrower' General Anti-Abuse Rule in 2013.

This note discusses the process by which National Insurance numbers (NINOs) are allocated and the uses to which they are put, before discussing the background to the introduction of the 'Right to Work' test for individuals requiring a NINO for employment purposes.

  • Research Briefing

    This note gives a short introduction to the way VAT works, and the significance of EU VAT law for setting VAT rates, before discussing the campaign for a lower VAT rate on tourist services.

  • Research Briefing

    This note looks at the recent debate about the structure of capital gains tax, the Coalition Government’s reforms in the 2010 Budget, and the current Government’s approach to the tax.

  • Research Briefing

    The 'IR35' rules to prevent the exploitation of personal service companies for tax avoidance were introduced in April 2000, following a long and contentious consultation exercise. This legislation remains unpopular among freelancers who use this corporate form to provide services. This note looks at debates as to the effectiveness of these rules and wider concerns about the use of employment intermediaries to avoid tax, before discussing recent developments as to their application in the public and private sector.

  • Research Briefing

    In the 2016 Budget the Government announced the introduction of the Loan Charge - a major initiative to tackle the mass marketing of tax avoidance ‘loan schemes’. Since the legislation establishing the Loan Charge was introduced, there have been many concerns as to its design and the financial difficulties facing taxpayers who used these schemes to either settle with HMRC or pay the Charge. In the 2020 Budget the Government confirmed it would implement a series of reforms to the Loan Charge, following the recommendations of an independent review, chaired by Sir Amyas Morse.

  • Research Briefing

    This note looks at the way alcoholic drinks are taxed, the Labour Government's introduction of a 'duty escalator' in 2008, and the concerns in the pub trade at the impact of this policy. It goes on to discuss the Coalition Government decision to remove the duty escalator in two stages in 2013 and 2014, and the current Government's approach to the taxation of alcohol.

  • Research Briefing

    Retrospective tax legislation imposes or increases a tax charge prior to the legislation being introduced. Although this is a controversial practice, retrospective provisions are often introduced to mitigate the risks to the Exchequer from tax avoidance.

  • Research Briefing

    This paper discusses the way that Parliament scrutinises the Government's proposals for taxation, set out in the annual Budget statement. It looks at how this procedure may be affected by the timing of a General Election, and the decision in 2017 to move the Budget from the Spring to the Autumn. It also provides some suggestions for further reading.

  • Research Briefing

    In a worst-case scenario, up to one-fifth of UK employees may be absent from work during the coronavirus outbreak. This would have significant economic impacts in the UK. This briefing provides information on the various sources of support for businesses affected.

  • Debate Pack

    The Chancellor Rishi Sunak presented the 2020 Budget on 11 March. The Finance Bill 2019-21 was published on 17 March, and completed its scrutiny in the House of Commons on 2 July. The Finance Act 2020 received Royal Assent on 22 July.