Relief from interest on tax payable by a person subject to the loan charge

Finance Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:00 pm on 4th June 2020.

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Amendment made: 3, in clause 17, page 13, line 36, at end insert—

“(5) The Commissioners for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs may by regulations provide that this section applies to a specified class of persons as if—

(a) the references in this section to the end of September 2020 were to such later time as is specified, and

(b) the reference in subsection (3)(b) to 1 October 2020 were to such later date as is specified.

(6) In subsection (5) “specified” means specified in the regulations.”—

This amendment will allow HMRC to extend, for particular classes of person subject to the loan charge, the period within which liability to income tax and capital gains tax for the tax year 2018-19 may be discharged without incurring interest on those liabilities.

Question proposed, That the clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Jesse Norman Jesse Norman The Financial Secretary to the Treasury

Clause 17 makes a technical amendment to remove the charge of late payment interest for customers and taxpayers who are liable to the loan charge for the period 1 February 2020 to 30 September 2020 on any self-assessment liability. The effect of that is that taxpayers will not be disadvantaged by the extension to the deadline given to them to submit their 2018-19 self-assessment return and to pay the tax due. Late payment interest will accrue from 1 February 2020, if this revised deadline of 30 September 2020 is not met.

The clause also provides that no late payment interest will be due on payments on account for 2019-20, where the payments are made by 31 January 2021 or are included in a payment arrangement by that date. Again, if the payment deadline of 31 January 2021 is not met or there is no payment arrangement in place by that date, the changes will not apply. Interest would then accrue from the statutory due dates for the relevant payments on account, which are 1 February 2020 and 1 August 2020.

While the clause will operate prospectively for the vast majority of affected payments, it will have limited but, I should emphasise, wholly positive retrospective application. There are cases where the Government are minded or have to act retrospectively, in part to do justice, and this is one of those. Any affected payments made before the date this Bill receives Royal Assent will be included, so that taxpayers who made their returns and payments before Royal Assent are no worse off than others who make their returns and payments later, but before the extended deadline.

Photo of Wes Streeting Wes Streeting Shadow Exchequer Secretary (Treasury)

As the Minister outlined, the measure is a technical one, so I do not have much to say about it, except to say as I did on clause 15 that I wonder whether he could outline, particularly for people who follow our proceedings closely, the reason for setting the deadline for filing the 2019 self-assessment return as 19 September 2021. The same issues that I raised previously may present themselves to taxpayers in the light of the lockdown measures that are currently in effect.

Photo of Jesse Norman Jesse Norman The Financial Secretary to the Treasury

I must say that I am not quite sure I understand the question, but what has happened so far is that the loan charge deadline has been extended to 30 September this year. The clause allows relief from interest payable by those who are subject to the loan charge in that context; but if the hon. Gentleman would like to clarify his question I will try to answer it.

Photo of Wes Streeting Wes Streeting Shadow Exchequer Secretary (Treasury)

It is simply the case that some people who may need to access relevant documentation to provide to the tax authorities might struggle to do so in light of the lockdown measures that are in place. So, just as I raised in the previous discussion on clause 15, I am asking what flexibility can be made available. That is what I am getting at.

Photo of Jesse Norman Jesse Norman The Financial Secretary to the Treasury

I understand. I think the hon. Gentleman said the date is 19 September 2021, and that is what threw me, because I do not think that that date applies to the issue that he has raised. As I have described, Revenue and Customs is, in the middle of the covid pandemic, exercising an extraordinarily careful sensitivity to personal circumstances. If there are personal circumstances that, because of the coronavirus, may have made it impossible to make a payment of the kind in question, I have no doubt that Revenue and Customs will take account of that in its consideration, before reaching a judgment.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 17, as amended, accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.