Weekly tax brief | 20 October 2020

Brexit: time is running out, but for whom?
Sarah Halsted
Brexit will have a deep and profound effect on UK businesses, but the Government’s plan to remodel the VAT and customs duty system still does not address all its implications. As a result, many will be unhappy with the implication of Michael Gove’s new ‘Time Is Running Out’ campaign that it is businesses who have failed to appreciate the gravity of the situation and have been dragging their feet. 

Tax, ESG and the US presidential election
George Bull
Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) investing is a huge and growing trend. With increasing recognition that tax avoidance is something which requires great skill but may not be very smart, two recent developments put tax firmly back on the list of hot governance topics. The big question now is whether the next US administration will be prepared to give way on sufficient points to allow the new OECD plan to go ahead.

Job Support Scheme launch imminent, but employers left to guess the rules
Charlie Barnes
On 24 September 2020 the Government announced the Job Support Scheme to replace the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, when it ceases on 31 October 2020. Apart from an accompanying fact sheet, little has been published by the Government regarding the legal framework for the scheme. Employers need detailed guidance now. 

Mind the gap – government departments’ clash over tax gap creates blame culture
Sarah Saunders
The tax gap is HMRC’s estimate of the difference between the tax they collect and the amount that would have been paid if everybody paid the correct tax. In September Jim Harra, the chief executive of HMRC, appeared before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to give evidence for a report on reducing the tax gap. The published report describes HMRC’s presentation as “misleading” and is accompanied by calls from the PAC for HMRC to be “more honest”. Mr Harra has now gone public with his concerns about this.