• Research Briefing

    VAT : the temporary cut in the standard rate

    This note discusses the Labour Government's decision, announced in the Pre-Budget Report on 24 November 2008, to cut the standard rate of VAT from 171/2% to 15%, from 1 December 2008 to 31 December 2009. It goes on to examine the way this tax change was implemented, and the debate there was about its impact.

  • Research Briefing

    VAT : Budget 2012 changes to loopholes and anomalies

    In Budget 2012 the Government announced the removal of a number of 'loopholes and anomalies' in the coverage of VAT - affecting self-storage facilities, approved alterations to listed buildings, catering & hot takeaway food, sports drinks, holiday caravans and the rental of hairdressers' chairs. This note gives details of the changes, which, for the most part, took effect from 1 October 2012.

  • Research Briefing

    VAT : the new 20% standard rate

    In his Budget statement on 22 June 2010, the Chancellor, George Osborne, announced that the standard rate of VAT would rise from 17.5% to 20% from 4 January 2011. This note looks at the background to this announcement, and the reaction there has been to date.

  • Research Briefing

    VAT on motorcycle helmets

    Motorcycle helmets as well as protective boots and helmets for industrial use and cycle helmets are charged a zero rate of VAT. This note discusses the scope of this VAT relief and the concerns there have been that it might have to be withdrawn under EC proposals for harmonising VAT rates.

  • Research Briefing

    VAT on children’s clothes

    Young children's clothes and footwear are charged a zero rate of VAT. This note discusses the scope of the zero rate and the case that has been made for extending it.

  • Research Briefing

    VAT on postal services

    At present public postal services are exempt from VAT, though the European Commission has argued that this hinders competition in postal services across the EU. This note looks at the prospects for reform.

  • Research Briefing

    Direct taxes: rates and allowances 2013/14

    This paper sets out the main changes to direct tax rates and allowances announced in the Budget on 20 March 2013. It lists the principal personal allowances which will be available against income tax in the tax year 2013/14, and it outlines the conditions necessary for eligibility for these allowances.

  • Research Briefing

    Income tax : the 10p starting rate

    In his 2007 Budget the then Chancellor Gordon Brown announced a series of changes to personal tax to take effect from 6 April 2008, including two major changes to income tax rates: the withdrawal of the 10% starting rate and a cut in the basic rate from 22% to 20%. Initially it was estimated that although 21 million households would be better off or no worse off as a result of these reforms, 5.3 million households would pay more in tax. This note looks at the reaction there was to this reform, and the Labour Government's approach after the 2007 Budget to compensate lower-income households who had lost out.

  • Research Briefing

    EU Savings Directive : recent developments

    In July 2005 legislation to tackle tax evasion on savings income held in one State for individuals resident in another - the EU Savings Directive (Council Directive 2003/48/EC). There have been concerns that the Directive is not as effective as initially hoped. This note looks at recent debates on amending it.

  • Research Briefing

    EU Savings Directive : background history

    This note discusses the background to the adoption of the EU Savings Directive - which seeks to prevent tax evasion on savings income paid from accounts in one Member State to individuals resident in another. The Directive took effect in July 2005. A second note looks at recent discussions as to its reform (SN03273).