Meaning of “the responsible member”

Part of Finance Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:00 pm on 11th June 2020.

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Photo of Bridget Phillipson Bridget Phillipson Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury 2:00 pm, 11th June 2020

We have no real issue with the clauses, as they are understandable in the context of the overall measures proposed.

I will draw the Minister’s attention to some technical concerns raised by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, which I hope he can address. In September 2019, it wrote:

“Given the complexities which a business could encounter in identifying and quantifying DST revenues, we are concerned that notification within 90 days of the accounting period is unhelpful. It would make sense to tie this notification into the deadline for filing accounts—6 months for a plc or 9 months otherwise”.

The institute also states that there should not be a need to notify HMRC in advance of the payment deadline, as

“businesses will require more time to review their accounting records, analyse and quantify revenues to decide whether they are” required to pay under the tax. It recognises that such obligations would not pose a problem for larger digital companies, but would be more problematic for marginal cases requiring “advice and review”, so

“the notification deadline should be aligned with the payment date.”

Regardless of whether we believe that the measures go far enough, or whether the tax is set at an appropriate rate, we believe that its implementation and administration should be fair, to give businesses—in particular those that fall on the margins of the scope of the measure—adequate time to provide accurate calculations of what they should be paying. I invite the Minister to respond to those points to provide some clarification.