Treasury Committee raises questions over Budget

A REPORT from the Treasury Select Committee has heaped yet more criticism on this year’s Budget.

The Budget, which has already come under fire on issues such as the ‘granny tax’, ‘pasty tax’ and a cap on tax relief for charitable donations, faced criticism from a group of MPs on a number of areas.

The Committe found retrospective taxation “conflicts with the principles of good tax policy laid down by the chancellor”.

The report states there are “serious reservations” about retrospection in the tax system, and called for greater clarity in the proposals, especially where stamp duty is concerned. The report added that its use should be “narrow and clearly-defined”.

On the 45p tax rate, the Committee expressed uncertainty over costs and benefits, and added that it could be significantly more or less than the cost included in the Budget. As such, it recommended HM Revenue & Customs produces a comprehensive assessment into its effect on the Exchequer.

The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) also raised concerns about “unintended consequences” resulting from the Budget – from uncertainty about retrospective tax on stamp duty to the uncertainties of the impact of reducing the 50p tax rate to 45p.

“We would welcome a consultation on retrospective tax policy changes, and also hope that the Government will publish the impact of the 5p cut in the top rate of tax,” said Chas Roy-Chowdhury, ACCA’s head of taxation.

In better news for the chancellor, there was an endorsement of personal tax statements. Such statements would itemise how each taxpayer’s money is spent, providing them with “additional transparency”.

The report went on: “There’s merit in this. Every taxpayer deserves to know how their taxes are being spent. It is important that this is presented in a fair and independent way without excessive expense.”

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