Weekly tax brief | 21 April 2020

£128 billion coronavirus hit for this year’s tax receipts
George Bull
Delivered with little regard to coronavirus, Rishi Sunak’s 11 March 2020 Budget announced tax policy decisions to increase the burden of taxation by £27 billion over the next five years. With coronavirus now dominating the picture, a recent report predicts that the UK tax yield will slump by £128 billion this year. We unpack the detail. 

Is HMRC’s software able to keep up with changing tax legislation?
Alex Foster
Over the last 25 years, digitalisation has changed the UK tax-reporting landscape out of all recognition. Tax legislation is now far more complex with the government enacting new tax laws while having little regard to HMRC’s ability to apply them. The expectations imposed on HMRC’s systems are at an all-time high. Can they keep up?

Tribunal support for leisure businesses on overpaid VAT could open claims for £1.5bn
Rich Holm and Sarah Halsted
The Upper Tribunal has upheld claims from two leisure businesses that they had overpaid VAT on historic takings from certain types of gaming machines. This may lead to much-needed refunds for the sector, which was the first to suffer the financial pressures of the coronavirus shutdown. 

Coronavirus tax deferrals will not be offset against R&D credits
James Tetley and Philip Munn
Following enquiries by RSM, HMRC has confirmed that R&D repayment claims will not be offset against tax liabilities under COVID-19 deferral schemes. However, payments of tax that are delayed under time-to-pay agreements with HMRC remain subject to offset. 

RSM agrees new VAT relief with HMRC to cover fire authorities and NHS fighting coronavirus 
Scott Harwood                                                     
In these exceptional times, our emergency services are working tirelessly to help in the fight against coronavirus. Following a request from RSM, HMRC has agreed to a new VAT relief for fire authorities collaborating with the NHS in Covid-19 activities.

The tax-free nature of gambling proceeds
Sheena McGuinness
HMRC was sceptical of an individual’s explanation of his £300k income being derived from the tax-free pursuit of gambling activities. The tax tribunal supported his appeal against the tax assessments and provided some valuable reminders in its judgement.