How is tax law made?
The new Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, will be presenting his first Autumn Statement (which is the first indication of post Brexit economic policy) on 23rd November. The announcement of this led me to wonder how many people know how tax laws are made.
The cycle starts with the Autumn Statement which sets out the state of the economy and possibly some tax changes.
The next event is the publication of draft laws for consultation. This usually happens in early December and can cover matters announced in the recent Autumn Statement, the previous Budget and even earlier Autumn Statements and Budgets.
All goes quiet for a few months until the following spring and Budget Day when we get more information about the economy, spending plans and taxation. The tax announcements are increasingly becoming confirmation of matters which have already been announced but we do get some new stuff being announced.
Budget Day occurs on a Wednesday in March, before the start of the new tax year. It is often the Wednesday in the Cheltenham (horseracing) Festival week – that would put it on 15th March next year.
Shortly after the Budget the Finance Bill is published and starts its progress through Parliament. Most of the clauses in the Bill will have been published previously but there are some surprises. The Bill will be amended and new clauses added as it is debated, examined by committees etc.
The Bill finally becomes the Finance Act when it gets Royal Assent. As the current Finance Bill is still going through the House of Lords it is anybody’s guess when it will become law.
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