Taxation (Post-transition Period) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:27 pm on 9th December 2020.

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Photo of Jesse Norman Jesse Norman The Financial Secretary to the Treasury 3:27 pm, 9th December 2020

I thank my hon. Friend for his question, and I will take that under review. We have put in place a set of measures designed to tidy up the position that particularly arises in relation to the Northern Ireland protocol, as he will be aware, and the end of the transition period, and that has meant a change to low-value consignment relief and the changes I have described. I am grateful to him for his contribution and suggestion.

The Bill also includes provision for an increase in the rate of duty on aviation gasoline, which will apply across the UK. Otherwise known as avgas, the fuel is a form of leaded petrol predominantly used in leisure flying. The change made by clause 6 of the Bill will increase the avgas rate by half of a penny to 38.2p a litre from 1 January next year. By way of explanation, the Northern Ireland protocol requires that Northern Ireland continues to comply with the EU’s energy taxation directive following the end of the transition period. It sets a minimum level of duty in euros on unleaded petrol used for propulsion. After some careful consideration, the Government have chosen to apply the change to the whole of the UK to ensure consistency between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, avoid burdens on business and reduce compliance risks for HMRC.

The Bill also includes a clause to ensure HMRC has access to the same or similar tools to prevent insurance premium tax evasion as it does at present, regardless of whether an insurer is based in an EU member state. Overseas insurers are liable to pay insurance premium tax when they supply general insurance for UK-located risks. Occasionally, overseas insurers do not pay the insurance premium tax they owe, so it is important that HMRC has access to tools that deter and tackle that form of evasion. Up to now, it has been using EU provisions to prevent evasion by insurers based in EU member states.

Separately, HMRC can issue liability notices in cases involving insurers based in any country outside the EU with which the UK does not have a mutual assistance agreement. Given that the EU provisions expire at the end of the transition period, this clause will enable HMRC to issue liability notices in evasion cases involving insurers based in any country with which the UK does not have a mutual assistance agreement, including EU member states.

Finally, the Bill introduces new powers that will enable HMRC to raise tax charges under the controlled foreign companies legislation for the period from 1 January 2013 to 31 December 2018. This is a technical provision that will deal efficiently with the legacy state aid decision relating to the period before the UK left the European Union.

This Bill will give people and businesses throughout the UK certainty about the arrangements that will apply from 1 January next year. It will play a part in further safeguarding the unity and integrity of this country, both in the months ahead and long into the future. I commend the Bill to the House.