Weekly tax brief | 9 June 2020

HMRC’s smart and stealthy approach to closing the tax gap
George Bull
Global crises such as the financial crisis of 2007/08 and the current coronavirus pandemic impose enormous financial strains on countries’ economies and tax systems. We take a look at what HMRC has been doing over the last 10 years to work smarter in collecting taxes which would otherwise never reach the Treasury’s coffers.

HMRC postpones introduction of domestic reverse charge VAT for construction services
Sarah Halsted
The introduction of the new VAT reverse charge for domestic supplies of construction services has been postponed by HMRC, but will a five-month extension be enough for a sector hard hit by the coronavirus emergency?

VAT on unborn baby scans? Tax tribunal states its case
Sarah Halsted & Scott Harwood
Are you taxed before you even come into the world? This was a question presented at a recent court hearing - the First-tier Tax Tribunal has confirmed that private ultrasound scans offering complementary services to those provided on the NHS still qualify as a VAT exempt supply of healthcare. Medical clinics offering ‘non-essential’ services should check that their registrations and contracts are up to HMRC scrutiny.

Should social enterprise and charities be mourning the loss of Social Investment Tax Relief?
Jackie Hall
The charitable sector is calling for an extension to Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR). But how effective is it, and could there be a better alternative? In these uncertain times, where social enterprises have been hit hard by shortfalls in income, there is a strong argument for reforming this relief rather than losing it altogether. The government is simply adding to the uncertainty by appearing to not tackle the issue in good time.