Schedule 27

Part of Finance Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:15 am on 11th June 2009.

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Photo of Mark Hoban Mark Hoban Shadow Minister (Treasury) 10:15 am, 11th June 2009

Hon. Members may have been thinking that they were just going to breeze through schedule 27 and clause 52 of the Bill. Having spent a day last year in Committee debating the way in which the residence and domicile rules were going to work in practice, I feel this could not pass without some comment. Many of the questions about the function of these rules that hon. Members raised in Committee on last year’s Finance Bill have come back to haunt the Government and have led to the changes that we see in this Bill. We raised a number of questions about the filing of returns, the de minimis limit, trading, spouses and property, all of which are dealt with in this part of the Bill.

The first question I want to raise relates to the

“application of the remittance basis without claim where unremitted foreign income and gains are under £2,000”.

That change in the Bill means there is now no requirement to file a return where gains are less than £2,000, which is to be welcomed. At the time the matter was raised, we flagged up our concern that to file such a return would be significant burden on HMRC and the taxpayer. However, in clause 52, the rules are amended to introduce a de minimis limit of £10,000, so what happens now? Is someone with foreign income of less than £10,000 still required to file a self-assessment claim, or does the £2,000 limit apply in such a case?

It is important to have clarity on that point, because there is a large number of people who work here temporarily who may have some foreign income from overseas. We discussed the large number of migrant workers last year, and my hon. Friend the Member for Hammersmith and Fulham, who is not in his place, cited the example of Polish workers in the UK who might have some residual income, say from a flat they have back in Poland—rental income or other interest.