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Summer Finance Bill announced

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The Queen's speech on Wednesday introduced an extended two-year session of Parliament, in order to cope with the volume of legislation expected to arise from Brexit.

The government’s legislative agenda sets out 27 bills, of which eight are dedicated entirely to measures around the UK leaving the EU, including the Great Repeal Bill.

The programme announces three Finance Bills, including a Summer Finance Bill 2017 which ‘will include a range of tax measures including those to tackle avoidance’.

There is to be a National Insurance Contributions Bill, which will legislate for NICs changes announced at Budget 2016 and Autumn Statement 2016.

There is also to be a Customs Bill, which will provide new domestic legislation to replace EU customs legislation and modify elements of the indirect taxes system. This is designed to allow the UK to operate standalone customs and indirect taxes regime on exit from the EU, whatever the outcome of the negotiations.

Dominic Stuttaford, head of tax at Norton Rose Fulbright, noted that the Queen’s speech was, unsurprisingly, light on detail. The NICs Bill ‘does not appear to extend to the discussion of self-employed contributions that there was at the time of the Spring Budget and which was later withdrawn,’ he said. ‘We are also expecting a Summer Finance Bill; this will include measures to ‘tackle tax avoidance’. We have to wait to see whether they contain the proposed restrictions on interest relief and losses – which many would not see as anti-avoidance. Equally, we do not know if it will contain the measures affecting non-UK domiciled individuals. Given the delay in implementing these, it will be good if the government moved the start date from 1 April 2017 to next year, but that may be too optimistic.’

John Cullinane, the CIOT’s tax policy director, called on the government to provide more detail on the Summer Finance Bill, both as to its content and the timeframe for its implementation. ‘There remains a need for an urgent statement to clarify the government’s intention on the proposals dropped from the pre-election Finance Bill,’ he said.

The debates on the government’s legislative programme will continue for six days, finishing on Thursday 29 June. Proposed amendments to the speech will be considered on Wednesday 28 and Thursday 29 June.