Tax Policy Making, Tax Impact Assessments and Tax Information and Impact Notes

Treasury written statement – made on 15th March 2011.

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Photo of David Gauke David Gauke The Exchequer Secretary

As set out in “Improving tax policy making: the new approach” published on 9 December 2010, the Government have adopted a new process for undertaking impact assessment of tax and national insurance contributions (NICs) policy changes. This new tailored tax impact assessment process will be used throughout the development of tax and NICs policy and will be summarised in tax information and impact notes. These notes set out what the policy change is, why the Government are proposing the change and a summary of the impacts of the change. As explained below, they will be produced for all substantive changes in tax and NICs policy by primary and secondary legislation.

This new approach will consider a wider range of impacts and cover a broader range of policy changes than the existing impact assessment regime for tax. The Government are committed to consulting on tax policy changes and will use consultation and stakeholder engagement to inform and test their understanding of the impacts of a proposed change in policy.

From Budget 2011 onwards, the Government will publish a tax information and impact note for tax policy changes at the point at which the policy design is final or near final. This could be alongside the Budget, publication of draft legislation or final legislation, as appropriate. These notes will provide a clear statement of the policy objective, impact on the Exchequer, the economy, individuals, businesses and civil society organisations, as well as any equality and other specific impact.

Tax information and impact notes will be available on the websites of HM Treasury and HM Revenue and Customs, and will be provided to Parliament through the normal publication channels.

There will be a number of exceptions where a tax information and impact note will not usually be published alongside a routine legislative change that gives effect to previously announced policy, for example:

routine changes to rates, thresholds and allowances to a predetermined formula such as indexation; appointed day orders; secondary legislation enacting double taxation treaties; and secondary legislation not laid before Parliament.