Business Tax Briefing

A weekly round-up of corporate, employment and indirect tax news


Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: HMRC guidance update

HMRC have updated their guidance on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) including the CJRS end date and information on when claims for September must be submitted:

Claim for wages through the CJRS

Check if you can claim for your employees' wages through the CJRS

Check if your employer can use the CJRS 

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme: Commons research briefing updated

The House of Commons Library has updated its research briefing on the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS). The update takes account of the Treasury Direction published on 6 July 2021 for the fifth SEISS grant, applications for which opened on 29 July 2021 and close on 30 September 2021, and of the revised HMRC guidance for the SEISS. 

National Insurance Contributions Bill: technical note              

The National Insurance Contributions Bill is scheduled to have its report stage in the Commons when MPs return from recess on 6 September 2021. It will introduce: an employer’s National Insurance Contributions (NICs) relief for employees in freeports; an employer’s NICs relief for the hiring of veterans; an exemption from self-employed NICs for Test and Trace support payments and NIC-related changes to the disclosure of tax avoidance schemes legislation. HMRC have published a technical note on how the government intends to use some of the discretions available under the Bill. This includes laying regulations to allow relief via an end of year claim in certain situations where real-time relief is not possible. Also, to qualify for exemption, Freeport employment must begin on or after 6 April 2022 and may not begin later than 5 April 2026, but there is a power to extend the relief. A decision on whether to extend will made after a review of the policy. 

HMRC: updated international social security guidance

HMRC have updated their guidance on National Insurance Contributions/social security contributions with new clarifications for workers coming to the UK from EEA/Switzerland and vice versa. The updates relate to an agreement reached regarding the UK/Swiss agreement of 1968 and cover for temporary postings for the self-employed and multi-state worker type arrangements. The guidance for those coming to the UK from the EEA or Switzerland is here. The guidance for workers from the UK working in the EEA or Switzerland is here

OECD publishes new and updated transfer pricing country profiles

The OECD has published new and updated transfer pricing country profiles which reflect the current legislation and practices of 20 jurisdictions. The updated profiles contain new information on countries' legislation and practices regarding the transfer pricing treatment of financial transactions and the application of the Authorised OECD Approach (AOA) to attribute profits to permanent establishments. There are new profiles for Angola, Romania and Tunisia. The profiles for Argentina, Australia, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Czech Republic, Denmark, India, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, the Russian Federation, the Slovak Republic, Spain, Switzerland and Turkey have been updated.

The profiles focus on countries' domestic legislation regarding key transfer pricing principles, including the arm's length principle, transfer pricing methods, comparability analysis, intangible property, intra-group services, cost contribution agreements, transfer pricing documentation, administrative approaches to avoiding and resolving disputes, safe harbours and other implementation measures. The new and updated profiles can be viewed here. 

Tax strategy and its place in government policy: Commons Library briefing

The House of Commons Library has published a research briefing on Tax Strategy and Government Policy. This notes that government has previously published road maps for individual taxes such as corporate tax, and that some argue that this could usefully be extended. The briefing points out that, although such an approach is likely to reduce distortions in the tax system, possible downsides are that the principles set out may be too vague to be useful for policy-making and may limit the flexibility of government to respond to changing needs. The Treasury Committee’s Tax after Coronavirus report published on 1 March 2021 calls for government to publish a tax strategy; the government’s initial response was non-committal, but a further response is expected later this year.  

Dbriefs webcasts

A reminder that our programme of Dbriefs webcasts is taking a break over the summer. The programme will recommence in September. You can catch up on any titles you may have missed, including:  Demystifying The New UK Patent Box Regime; G20/OECD The Digitalised Economy - Political Agreement On Taxation Of Digital Economy (Pillar One) And Global Minimum Rate (Pillar Two); Taking Action On Tax Evasion: Corporate Criminal Offence And Beyond; HMRC Review Of Transfer Pricing Documentation and many more. For further details of our webcasts available to view on demand see here.  

VAT: option to tax land and buildings: changes to notification

HMRC have confirmed that the temporary extension to the time limit for notifying HMRC of an option to tax land and buildings to 90 days has now ended. For decisions to opt to tax made from 1 August 2021, taxpayers are again required to notify HMRC within 30 days of the decision to opt to tax. HMRC have also confirmed that the ability to notify HMRC of an option to tax by way of electronic signature, another COVID-19-related measure, has been made permanent. The relevant form can be submitted with an electronic signature, provided there is evidence that the signature is from a person authorised to make the option on behalf of the business, and if an agent is notifying an option to tax on behalf of a business, the agent has the necessary authority to use the electronic signature. Notice 742A: Opting to tax land and buildings has been updated accordingly. 

CHIEF to close on 31 March 2023

HMRC have announced that the Customs Declaration Service (CDS) will serve as the UK’s single customs platform from 31 March 2023. The Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system will close on that date, and from then, all businesses will need to declare goods through the CDS. Services on CHIEF will be withdrawn in two stages: on 30 September 2022 for import declarations and 31 March 2023 for export declarations.