• 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).

  • Research Briefing

    Groceries Code Adjudicator Bill [HL]

    The Bill creates a new office – the Groceries Code Adjudicator – to enforce and oversee the Groceries Code – a code of practice that regulates the relationship between large retailers and their suppliers.

  • Research Briefing

    VAT on historic building repairs

    This note sets out the VAT treatment of construction work and the UK's discretion in setting VAT rates with respect to European VAT law, before discussing the debate there has been on cutting VAT on historic building repair and recent proposals to withdraw the zero rate that applies to alteration work on listed buildings.

  • Research Briefing

    The Tobin tax : earlier debates

    The American economist James Tobin first made the suggestion for a tax on currency transactions to dissuade short term currency speculation in the 1970s. Recently the idea of a more general 'Tobin-like' tax on financial transactions has been discussed, in the wake of the global financial crisis, and the desire to recover the considerable costs of public bailouts given to this sector. This note gives some historical background to the issue, while a second note (SN06184) looks at recent developments.

  • Research Briefing

    Hypothecated taxation

    Hypothecation is the term used to describe the process of assigning tax revenues to a specific end, or - in certain cases - ensuring that they are not spent on one particular end. This note looks at the case that has been made for hypothecated taxation, before looking at a number of areas where its potential use has been discussed and the very limited way it has featured to date in the UK tax system.

  • Research Briefing

    VAT on ‘labour-intensive’ services

    All Member States have limited discretion to set VAT rates under EU VAT law. Under a scheme agreed in October 1999, countries may introduce a reduced VAT rate on certain 'labour-intensive' services. Several countries have made use of the scheme, though the UK Government has shown no interest in doing so. This note discusses the development of European VAT law, before looking at this scheme in detail.

  • Research Briefing

    Furnished Holiday Lettings

    Under the Furnished Holiday Letting (FHL) rules, income from furnished holiday accommodation may be treated in the same way as trading income for tax purposes. In 2009 the Labour Government proposed to repeal these rules from 2011, rather than extend their scope to property held across the EU, to ensure compliance with EU law. In the 2011 Budget the Coalition Government confirmed a number of changes to ensure the relief was complaint with EU law while mitigating its cost to the Exchequer.

  • Research Briefing

    Tax relief for private medical insurance

    In 1990 a new tax relief for private medical insurance, paid for those aged 60 and over, was introduced. In 1997 the then Labour Government abolished this relief on the grounds of cost, and the view that it had failed to encourage take-up. This note discusses the short life of this tax relief, and recent debate as to whether it should be reintroduced.