• Research Briefing

    Air passenger duty: introduction

    Air passenger duty (APD) is charged on all passenger flights from UK airports. It was introduced in the November 1993 Budget and came into effect on 1 November 1994. This note discusses the introduction of APD, and the first years of its operation.

  • Research Briefing

    Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme

    In the 2012 Budget the Government announced proposals to introduce a new scheme, to be introduced from April 2013, to allow charities to claim additional payments on small donations - equivalent to the way they may claim tax relief on donations made under Gift Aid. This note gives some background to the scheme and the changes that have been made to it since it was introduced.

  • Research Briefing

    VAT : European law on VAT rates

    All Member States have limited discretion in setting VAT rates under EU VAT law. This note discusses the development of European law in this area, and the implications this has for the UK setting its own VAT rates.

  • Research Briefing

    Tax, marriage & transferable allowances

    Since the introduction of independent taxation in 1990, all individuals have been assessed for tax as separate persons, entitled to their own personal tax allowance, to set against their liability to income tax. This note looks at the debate there has been about allowing partners to transfer their allowance to their spouse, so that the tax system might 'recognise' marriage.

  • Research Briefing

    VAT and Churches

    This note examines how construction work for churches is treated for VAT in the UK, proposals for reform in this area, and the changes made in Budget 2012, removing the zero rate of VAT which had applied to alteration work on listed buildings. It also gives details of the current grant scheme for church repairs.

  • Research Briefing

    VAT Registration

    All businesses must register for VAT if their turnover of taxable goods and/or services is above a given threshold. This note discusses how the registration threshold has been set in recent years and the debate there has been about whether the threshold is too high or too low.

  • Research Briefing

    National Insurance Contributions (NICs) and the self-employed

    This paper looks at the way in which the self-employed are treated for the purposes of National Insurance, in the context of proposals made in the 2015 Budget to scrap Class 2 National Insurance contributions (NICs), and proposals in the Spring 2017 Budget to increase the rate of Class 4 NICs. In the latter case, the Government cancelled its plans a few days after the Budget, and in the former case announced in September 2018 that it would not proceed with the abolition of Class 2 NICs during this Parliament.

  • Research Briefing

    Income tax : increases in the personal allowance since 2010

    This note discusses the Coalition Government's policy over 2010-15 to increase the basic personal allowance each year, with the aim that the allowance should reach £10,000 by 2015, before looking at the current Government's approach to increasing both the personal allowance and the higher rate threshold - the point at which individuals start to pay the 40% top rate of tax.

  • Research Briefing

    Income tax: the additional 50p rate

    In the 2009 Budget the Labour Government announced the introduction of a new 'additional' 50p rate on incomes above £150,000 from April 2010. This paper discusses the background to the 50p rate, the debate over its political significance and its economic impact, before looking at the Coalition Government’s decision to cut the additional rate to 45p, and recent speculation as to its future.

  • Research Briefing

    Insurance Premium Tax

    Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) is charged on insurance premiums and covers most general insurance. This note gives a short history of the tax since it was introduced in 1993, including the rise in the main rate of tax confirmed in the Spring 2017 Budget.

  • Research Briefing

    Corporation tax in Northern Ireland

    In March 2015 Parliament passed the Corporation Tax (Northern Ireland) Act 2015 which, subject to commencement regulations, will devolve corporation tax rate setting powers to the Northern Ireland Assembly. The Government has committed to commencing the regime if the NI Executive demonstrates its finances are on a sustainable footing. This note discusses the development of the Government’s policy and the wider debate over corporate tax competition.

  • Research Briefing

    Taxation of non-domiciles: recent developments

    A person's 'domicile' is their permanent home, and while this is a concept of general law, it has long been an important consideration in an individual's liability to pay tax in the UK. "Non-domiciles" who live in the UK have been entitled to be taxed under the "remittance basis", where any overseas income or gains is only subject to UK tax if remitted to this country. In the Summer 2015 Budget the Government announced a number of major changes to non-domicile taxation which are to take effect from April 2017. This paper discusses the background to these proposals and the current debate as to their impact.