Weekly tax brief | 7 September 2021

Will carefully crafted Health and Social Care Levy proposals defeat objections?
George Bull
In the world of taxation, reality has bitten. The promised £350 million per week ‘Brexit dividend’ – bus-marked for the NHS – is nowhere to be seen. Trading on post-pandemic public sympathy, the Prime Minister has decided to increase National Insurance contributions and dividend taxes to provide additional funding for the NHS and to improve social care. The judgment seems to be that, if you have to break manifesto promises, break them quickly. Furthermore, NI contributions are the least visible of the taxes we pay. While a general income tax increase might have been a fairer and more progressive way to raise funds, higher NI contributions may be more acceptable in the long run because they carry historic associations with health and pension benefits.

Tribunal Judge comments highlight confusion over CJRS rules and HMRC guidance
Susan Ball and Carolyn Brown
Employers may be alarmed to learn that scrutiny of their furlough decisions is not limited to HMRC and the employers’ own external or internal audit functions. Employment tribunals are adjudicating on them too.

Could tax appeals challenging incorrect advice from HMRC be about to get easier?
Sarah Halsted and Sarah Saunders
Taxpayers who feel they have been misadvised by HMRC officers or misled by poorly worded HMRC guidance currently have few legal options for challenging the tax bills that may follow, and many simply give up. Could this be about to change?