Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced that the UK Budget will be on 11 March 2020. This will be the first Budget since the December 2019 General Election and comes after his planned Budget on 06 November 2019 was cancelled.

On the same day (07 January 2020), Gov.UK produced guidance on how to submit a Budget representation.  This is a written representation from an interest group, individual or representative body to HM Treasury with the aim of commenting on UK Government policy and / or suggesting new policy for inclusion in the upcoming Budget.  Representations can be made up until midnight on 07 February 2020 and can also be made:

Waiting with Baited Breath

With very little in legislation at the moment, the UK Budget should, amongst other things, tell payroll and software developer professionals vital information such as:

  • The Rest of the UK Income Tax rates and bands
  • The UK-wide National Insurance Contributions rates and thresholds
  • The UK-wide rates of SSP, SMP etc

It will also confirm that the changes for off-payroll working / IR35 are going ahead as well as the planned changes to company car taxation.

There is absolutely no need to remind payroll professionals that the tax year 2019/20 finishes on 05 April 2020.  It can’t only be me that is worried that the date of the UK Budget and the start of the tax year 2020/21 are too close together for comfort.  Software professionals may be brilliant at what they do, however, changes to payroll systems need to be implemented, tested and then released to clients.  Things do not happen overnight or by magic!

Plus

Spare a thought for the functioning devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales.  In particular, I am concerned about the Income Tax for Scottish and Welsh taxpayers.

Wales has already had a draft Budget and Rebecca Evans, Minister for Finance and Trefnydd, announced that there will be no changes to the Welsh Rates of Income Tax (WRIT) for 2020/21.  Will the UK Budget put a spanner in the works of the Welsh spending assumptions?

In Scotland, the Budget has already been postponed from 12 December 2019 and their annual spending and taxation plans are greatly impacted by the UK Budget announcements.  Derek Mackay will not know how much money he has to spend until the UK Budget.  A follow-on impact is that councils and health boards will not know how much money they have to spend either.  Holyrood’s Budget scrutiny process usually lasts for months.  This year, it will have to be compressed into a couple of weeks at the most.

In addition, the Scottish National Party (SNP) ruling Government in Scotland runs a minority administration (unlike Wales where there is a stable ruling Government).  For his last 3 Budgets, Derek Mackay has always relied on the support of the Green Party to get his plans through.  However, the Scottish Green co-leader Patrick Harvie has warned that they will not back the next Budget unless it is a ‘climate emergency Budget’.

I’m sensing that UK politicians, payroll and software professionals are in for a manic March ahead of the tax year start.

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