This afternoon, Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond released the 2019 Spring Statement. Here are our takings from the speech...  

Spring Statement 2019: major crackdown on tax evasion 

The Chancellor revealed that, since 2010, the government "has secured and protected over £200 billion of tax that would otherwise have gone unpaid", and that more than one-hundred measures have been introduced to avoid tax avoidance, evasion, and other forms of non-compliance. 
 
The government has, this afternoon, published a new policy paper entitled "Tackling tax avoidance, evasion and other forms of non-compliance", which can be found here - it's a 68 page long document, so happy bedtime reading! 

Making Tax Digital made the speech... 

Photograph: Dinendra Haria / Rex / Shutterstock 
...but not much was said that we don't already know. Mr Hammond reiterated the importance of this modernisation of the tax system, which comes into force on April 1st 2019. He said that the government has confirmed a "light touch" approach to penalties in the first year of implementation - but only where businesses are genuinely doing their best to comply. So instead of penalising businesses that are still getting used to the change, the government are going to come down softer, and no record keeping or filing penalties will be issued. 
 
All in all, when it comes to Making Tax Digital, the focus is going to be on supporting businesses during their transition. There will be no mandating MTD for any new taxes or businesses in 2020. 

A little about VAT... 

...but, unsurprisingly, nothing groundbreaking! The Chancellor announced potential simplification and improvement of the VAT Partial Exemption regime and the Capital Goods Scheme so as to ensure they are as simple and efficient for taxpayers as possible. This follows a recommendation from the Office of Tax Simplification which identified potential areas for improvement. 

Overall, not a lot to report - and nothing more on IR35! 

It's likely that with all the uncertainty surrounding Brexit and the lack of deal between the UK and the EU, other less urgent issues have taken a back seat for now. Nothing about IR35 was mentioned, which was expected anyway, owing to last week's consultation announcement
 
We will report back with any further developments. 
 
 
 
 
Written by: 
 
Nicola J Sorrell - 
Effective Accounting 
 
Founder | Xero Champion | IR35 Expert 
Tagged as: Budget, Tax Avoidance, VAT
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