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Finance Bill 2019: opposition forces amendments at committee stage

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On 19 and 20 November, a committee of the whole House agreed two government amendments to clause 61 on remote gaming duty and four opposition amendments, including three new clauses. The government had its hand forced on the opposition amendments by the withdrawal of Democratic Unionist Party support in the vote, in protest at the proposed Brexit deal.

The opposition amendments were:

  • New clause 12, requiring the Treasury to review the public health effects of the remote gaming duty and gaming duty changes and report to the House of Commons within six months of royal assent to Finance Act 2019;
  • an amendment to Clause 83, requiring the Treasury to report to the House of Commons on how it would exercise powers to require disclosure of information about certain cross-border tax arrangements, under the EU’s directive on tax planning intermediaries, in various scenarios involving withdrawal from the EU with or without a negotiated agreement;
  • New clause 5, requiring the Treasury to review the social and regional effects of the tax avoidance provisions of the Bill and report to the House of Commons; and
  • New clause 14, requiring the Treasury to review the effectiveness of the tax avoidance provisions of the Bill.

The government amendments to Clause 61 bring forward to 1 April 2019 the proposed increase in the rate of remote gaming duty to 21%, originally due to take effect on 1 October 2019. Announcing the remote gaming duty change earlier in the week, DCMS minister Jeremy Wright stated that while the prime concern had been to protect vulnerable people, ‘as a responsible government it is also right to take the needs of those employed by the gambling industry into account and provide time for an orderly transition’. However, the minister explained, Parliament had, ‘been clear that they want this change to be made sooner. The government has listened and will now implement the reduction in April 2019’.

The following were agreed without amendment.

On 19 November:

  • Clauses 5, 6, 8, 9 and 10 (income tax thresholds and reliefs)
  • Clause 38 and Schedule 15 (entrepreneurs’ relief)
  • Clauses 39 and 40 (gift aid and charities)
  • Clauses 41 and 42 (stamp duty land tax: first-time buyers in cases of shared ownership)
  • Clauses 68 to 78 (carbon emissions tax)
  • Clause 89 (minor amendments in consequence of EU withdrawal)
  • Clause 90 (emissions reduction trading scheme: preparatory expenditure)

On 20 November:

  • Clause 62 and Schedule 18 (remote gaming duty and gaming duty)
  • Clause 15 and Schedule 3 (offshore receipts in respect of intangible property)
  • Clause 16 and Schedule 4 (avoidance involving profit fragmentation arrangements)
  • Clause 19 (hybrid and other mismatches: scope of Chapter 8 and ‘financial instrument’)
  • Clause 20 (controlled foreign companies: finance company exemption and control)
  • Clause 22 and Schedule 7 (payment of CGT exit charges)
  • Clause 23 and Schedule 8 (corporation tax exit charges)
  • Clauses 46 and 47 (stamp duty and SDRT)

The remainder of the Bill will go to a Public Bill Committee (PBC) starting on 27 November. The PBC must conclude its consideration by 11 December.