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The Chancellor of the Exchequer is due to deliver his Spring Statement on Wednesday 13 March 2019. The Lexis®PSL Tax team considers the business tax announcements and publications that could be expected on the day.
LexisPSL subscribers can access all analysis and insight on the Spring Statement 2019. If you are not a subscriber, you can take a free trial here.
On Wednesday 13 March 2019, the Chancellor is set to deliver the government’s second Spring Statement since the introduction of the new Budget timetable in autumn 2017. The publication of an annual Spring Statement was part of the move to holding Budgets in the autumn, rather than the spring. The primary purpose of the Spring Statement is to enable the government to respond to the Office of Budget Responsibility’s twice yearly economic and fiscal forecasts. The Spring Statement is also an opportunity for the government to publish consultations, including early stage calls for evidence, and is not intended to be an occasion for announcing immediate tax changes. The first Spring Statement, in March 2018, was true to this intention and did not announce any immediate tax changes, although this does remain an option if the government considers it to be necessary.
The first Spring Statement was accompanied by the publication of 13 new consultation documents. The Spring Statement of 2019 takes place at a time of high Brexit drama and it is possible that government resources being heavily directed towards preparations for Brexit could result in fewer ‘business as usual’ tax policy developments.
In light of Brexit, it is still possible that the Spring Statement could be upgraded to a full emergency Budget. Assuming that this does not happen, a ‘normal’ Spring Statement may be used to announce entirely new measures, some of which may be Brexit-related, or dependent on the ratification of a Brexit withdrawal agreement. It is also an occasion on which the government may publish responses, or next steps, relating to previous consultations or calls for evidence.
There are unlikely to be any developments in areas where consultations have closed very recently (the digital services tax consultation, for instance, only closed on 28 February 2019), but there could be further publications or announcements in relation to:
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