Weekly tax brief | 20 November 2019

What should you look for in an election manifesto?
George Bull   
Most of the political parties will soon be publishing their manifestos ahead of the 12 December general election.  We identify the big issues and consider how they might translate into specific tax proposals.

Is PM's corporation tax announcement economic or political?
James Morris
The Prime Minister’s plan to revoke the reduction in corporation tax rate to 17 per cent from April 2020 signals an end to the Corporate Tax Road Map published by David Cameron’s Government in 2010 and the decade-long decline in the headline rate. But is the policy driven by economic evidence or political necessity?

Children’s clubs in the VAT spotlight… again
Sarah Halstead and Scott Harwood
Are children’s clubs childcare with added entertainment, or are they entertainment with a bit of added childcare? The answer determines whether VAT is payable on the fees – an important point, not only for providers trying to meet their VAT obligations, but also for hard-pressed parents struggling to find affordable childcare during school holidays.  

Doctors offered sticking plaster to help with pensions tax bills
Susan Ball and James Gransby
Ministers appear to have agreed to a short-term fix to the NHS pensions crisis amid concerns about the impact on waiting times. However, the uptake of the new concession may be low because of heavy bureaucracy. Wouldn’t it be simpler if the annual allowance taper was abolished for everybody?

UK Athletics VAT error highlights lessons for other not-for-profits
Sarah Halstead and Scott Harwood
According to recent press reports, UK Athletics received an unexpected bill of £500,000 from HMRC to recover VAT due on sports kit supplied to it free by one of its sponsors. The case highlights the complex judgment calls not-for-profit organisations must often make in order to get their VAT accounting right.