Clause 98 - Power to make temporary modifications of taxation of employment income

Part of Finance (No. 2) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:00 am on 11 January 2022.

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Photo of Lucy Frazer Lucy Frazer The Financial Secretary to the Treasury 10:00, 11 January 2022

Clause 98 introduces regulation-making powers to allow the Government to make temporary changes to provide income tax relief on certain benefits in kind or expenses in a disaster or emergency of national significance.

Covid has highlighted the limited scope to respond quickly to make changes to the current benefits-in-kind and expenses tax system to support people during the pandemic. The Government are determined to learn from that experience and ensure that we are prepared for future crises. It is expected that during any future disaster or emergency of national significance, it may be necessary to make similar changes on a temporary basis. The current legislation allows only for changes to be made through secondary legislation in limited circumstances. The clause introduces regulation-making powers that will allow the Government to respond quickly and effectively to various future emergency situations—including, but not limited to, pandemics—if deemed necessary.

The clause introduces regulation powers to allow employers to support their employees through the provision of a certain benefit in kind or expense in a disaster or emergency of national significance without creating an additional income tax charge. The powers can be exercised only in a way that provides support to taxpayers, as changes can be wholly relieving only and cannot create a tax charge. The Treasury can determine when it is appropriate to use the powers, but may make changes only to the income tax expenses and benefit-in-kind rules. Any changes made through the powers will have effect only for a limited time, up to a maximum of two complete tax years. The clause allows the Government to respond quickly and effectively to provide support to taxpayers in disasters or emergencies of national significance, and I commend it to the Committee.