Clause 15 - Abolition of tax relief for patent royalties

Part of Finance Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 4:00 pm ar 16 Mai 2013.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Cathy Jamieson Cathy Jamieson Shadow Minister (Treasury) 4:00, 16 Mai 2013

We are making good progress this afternoon. I hope to maintain that speed, as I can see that people are noticing that many others have gone home while we are still here enjoying our consideration of the Bill. I was wondering about whether, if the officials had gone home, all that inspiration would have been lost to the Minister.

We have had many lively debates regarding tax avoidance, not least during the sitting of the Committee of the whole House. Despite our criticism of other attempts  by the Government to crack down on tax avoidance, of which the Minister will be well aware, we support their proposals in this short clause. The Minister will no doubt state that this relief is being abolished to counter known avoidance and to simplify the tax code—that brings us back to some of the issues that we have already debated.

The relief abolished by clause 15 applies only to payments that are not deducted in calculating income tax liability from any other source—for example, a trade. Where patents royalties are deductible in calculating income from any source, they will continue to be relieved in that way. To cut to the chase, I would like to ask the Minister a number of questions. What assessment has he made of the levels of tax avoidance regarding these specific payments of patent royalties? I would like to hear him state, for the record, why he feels the clause is so important.

The Government stated in their summary of impacts that

“the proposed changes will impact only a small number of individuals and households who pay patent royalties other than as part of a trade or profession”.

Will the Minister tell us exactly what assessment has been made of the numbers of businesses and households affected by the changes?

The Government also stated in the summary of impacts that

“businesses will need to understand the effect of the changes to advise the small number of their clients that may be affected”.

Given that the changes will have effect for payments made on or after 5 December 2012, will the Minister tell us what guidance he has given to businesses regarding the measure and what efforts he has made to publicise it to ensure that businesses are already fully aware of it and its impact? Or, will he tell us what additional guidance he intends to introduce or whether he intends to take any action to alert businesses to the measures in the clause?