ICAS looks ahead to a taxing 2018
Having gained much from his participation in ICAS tax committees throughout his career to date, Donald Drysdale encourages others to start 2018 by doing the same.
Happy New Year!
Although 1 January is not universally celebrated in all countries and by all religious groups as the start of a new year, it provides an ideal opportunity for the tax team at ICAS to look ahead at what may be in store during 2018.
ICAS tax policy positions
The ICAS Tax Board has a number of agreed policy positions, and its proactive work currently focuses primarily on the following areas:
- tax administration, including Making Tax Digital (MTD);
- devolution of taxes; and
- simplification of tax law and policy.
Further policy positions inform the contributions of ICAS to tax consultations and other reactive work. However, the policy positions are not static. They will be reflected upon and revised as tax events, and the wider economic and political picture, unfold.
ICAS members continue to demand stability and certainty in tax. 2017 was a year of particular uncertainties – not only as fiscal devolution led to greater differentiation of tax rules and rates among component parts of the UK, but also as Brexit created a wider backdrop of uncertainty across Europe and throughout the world.
The ICAS tax function
For the ICAS Tax Board and Charlotte Barbour, Director of Tax, key objectives include the delivery of tax support and representation to members, and policy work and liaising with the tax authorities.
The following committees report to the Tax Board:
- Private Client Committee
- Owner Managed Business Tax Committee
- Scottish Taxes Committee
- International and Large Business Tax Committee
- Indirect Tax Committee
In addition to these standing committees, ad hoc task forces or working parties are formed from time to time. For example, an MTD steering group was established in 2016 to agree ICAS policy and strategy on MTD.
For Barbour and her tight-knit team of in-house tax specialists, the annual fiscal calendar includes a range of fundamental activities. Some of these are predictable, but there are always surprises too. The success of the ICAS tax team depends on strong support from volunteer members and affiliates.
In a typical year the activities include:
- Tax policy representations to HM Treasury and HMRC before the annual Budget.
- Responding to formal and informal Treasury and HMRC consultations.
- Reviewing draft Finance Bill provisions and submitting representations on these.
- Responding to formal and informal Scottish Government and Revenue Scotland consultations.
- Responding to calls for evidence from Parliamentary committees at Westminster and Holyrood.
- Periodic meetings of the Tax Board and its committees.
- Presenting the ICAS Tax Conference.
- Delivering annual tax updates at multiple venues across the UK.
- Presenting ad hoc updates on particular topics – for example, MTD roadshows during 2017.
- Providing relevant technical coverage to the ICAS Tax Community through icas.com, the online tax magazine CA Tax, and The CA magazine.
Links to tax submissions from ICAS can be found here on the ICAS website, where there are also links to current HMRC and HM Treasury consultations.
Involving ICAS members
As a member or affiliate of ICAS, you are invited to raise your views and concerns on any matters relating to tax, and to volunteer to participate in ICAS tax committees.
If you are interested in becoming involved in the work of an ICAS tax committee, you should note that the time commitment need not be unduly onerous as the meetings are short, business-like and infrequent. Typically a committee will meet twice or three times a year, usually in Edinburgh, Glasgow or London, and facilities are provided to participate by phone where desired.
Membership of a committee is usually for a three-year term. It offers valuable opportunities to affect the direction and work of ICAS, to influence the development of the UK tax system, and to network with other ICAS members from business and practice. It also ensures that you are well-informed about the latest tax proposals and consultations in a particular field.
Committee members are often given opportunities to represent ICAS (if they wish) on consultative groups where they will engage with senior policy-makers from HM Treasury, HMRC and other agencies.
Some committee members are tax specialists with many years of experience in business or practice. Others are newer to tax, or are generalists interested in tax, working for enlightened organisations that perceive the career benefits which can come from exposure to tax policy-making.
Tax policy objectives
The ICAS Tax Board’s objectives in establishing its policy positions are to act in the public interest, to provide constructive input to the authorities, and to represent the interests of ICAS members, affiliates and students.
The Tax Board sees flaws in the UK tax system, which it regards as overly-complicated. UK citizens cannot see easily what they are contributing, and there is a sense of unfairness. The ICAS tax policies, aimed at addressing these issues, can be found here.
Why don’t you start 2018 by volunteering to help ICAS in this important work? Alternatively, you might prefer to dip your toe in the water first, contributing to (and gaining from) the ICAS Tax Community by sharing your views on the ICAS tax policies or any other tax matters? To do so, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Article supplied by Taxing Words Ltd