Weekly tax brief | 19 June 2018

NHS funding: why the rush to raise new taxes?
George Bull 
To fund the NHS settlement, the Prime Minister plans to impose new taxes, in a ‘fair and balanced way’ we are told, on honest taxpayers when £8.5 billion is lost to dishonest taxpayers through tax evasion and the hidden economy. What's fair about that? Surely it would be fairer to give HMRC more resources to bear down on tax evasion and the hidden economy in the same way that it has successfully tackled tax avoidance? 

Businesses adrift in a sea of uncertainty
George Bull 
If small- and medium-sized businesses are the lifeblood of the UK economy, why are we clogging the nation’s arteries with a plethora of burdensome compliance obligations? With so many Brexit-related uncertainties, don't SMEs deserve a break?  

Who lives in a 'dwelling' house like this? SDLT continues to confuse taxpayer 
Chris Etherington 
The changes in recent years to the Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) rules have added a lot of complexity and a recent case highlights the difficulty taxpayers face in calculating the amount of tax due and determining what reliefs are available. With record SDLT revenues in 2017, it seems likely that many taxpayers are overpaying SDLT as a result.  

A missed penalty 
Mike Down and Sarah Saunders 
Some time ago we reported a tax tribunal decision that suggested that the automatic late return penalties issued by HMRC may be invalid as they did not involve a human being making an assessment. Another situation in which HMRC appears to be issuing erroneous penalty notices has now come to light. 

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