Assets transfer to non-resident company: reorganisations of share capital etc

Part of Finance (No. 2) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 2:15 pm ar 11 Ionawr 2018.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Peter Dowd Peter Dowd Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury 2:15, 11 Ionawr 2018

Clause 27 amends the Taxation of Chargeable Gains Act 1992 to ensure that tax postponed does not become due on the occasion of a subsequent corporate restructuring involving the exchange of shares in an overseas transferee company where the substantial shareholding exemption applies to the share exchange. The Government’s explanation for this change is that the measure removes an unintended tax barrier to commercial restructuring of groups. I will not go into the ins and outs of this, which the helpful explanatory notes set out.

The argument for this change is that currently, companies that use the substantial shareholding exemption can treat the gain or loss on a disposal of shares as exempt from corporation tax on chargeable gains. A by-product of that is that a chargeable gain could be chargeable on a further restructuring of the company, with the old shares of the securities treated as new ones, despite the same corporate group continuing to own them. The new clause seeks to track that unintended change.

Clearly, the Government’s case is that the unintended tax change creates barriers, particularly for financial sector businesses that have traditionally operated through a network of foreign branches and need to restructure, for example to meet changing regulatory requirements in the territories where they conduct their business. That seems perfectly reasonable, but will the Minister give us a few examples, now or in due course?

While we accept the Government’s argument about the unintended consequence of correcting the tax change, we do not necessarily accept the costings put out by the Treasury, which argues that the change would in effect have zero impact on its finances. In our view, there is a lack of information from the Treasury and the OBR about the revenue that the unintended tax change has raised. I press the Minister to, if possible, publish those figures.

That is why we have put forward new clause 11, which would require the Minister to report back to Parliament on the revenue implications, on the impact on the Exchequer and on the restructuring of UK companies’ overseas business. If the Opposition are to accept the Government’s case that the current measures are a barrier to restructuring, leading to lost revenue for UK companies and lost investment in the UK, it is only reasonable that the Minister should produce evidence to that effect.

We are also interested to know whether there are any losses of revenue to the Exchequer. The Minister says they are “negligible”. It is not that I do not accept that; I am just trying to be clear about this. The Minister should explain, if there is a loss of revenue, how that loss will be filled, how much it is, whether he will be clear in keeping tabs on the process—for example, through the review we want—and how the measure will be implemented.