Government amendments and two cross-party amendments have been agreed to.
The Finance Bill completed its passage through the House of Commons with the conclusion of the report stage and third reading on 8 January 2019. All Government amendments tabled before Christmas relating to the tax treatment of intangible fixed assets, specifically de-grouping relief and deductions for goodwill and similar intangibles, and entrepreneurs’ relief were agreed to. Interestingly, two opposition amendments were also agreed to relating to legislating in consequence of EU withdrawal and requiring the Government to review and report on measures extending assessment time limits for offshore matters as well as the loan charge settlement provisions. No further amendments to the Finance Bill can now be made before Royal Assent; the Finance Bill has therefore been ‘substantively enacted’ for GAAP purposes. The timing for the Bill’s passage through the House of Lords and Royal Assent has not yet been confirmed.
The Government’s amendments to the tax treatment of intangible fixed assets were discussed in Tax Matters Digest on 4 January 2019. A separate article in this week’s edition discusses the amendments that have been agreed to regarding entrepreneurs’ relief.
Clause 89 of the Finance Bill that considers minor amendments in consequence of EU withdrawal has been amended in order to ensure that the clause only comes into force if: the House of Commons has approved a Brexit withdrawal agreement; the Prime Minister has formally requested extension of the period before Brexit has effect; or the House of Commons has approved a no-deal Brexit. This is a substantial departure from the previous clause which equipped the Treasury with broader powers to make such provisions as they consider appropriate for the purpose of maintaining the effect of any tax legislation on the withdrawal of the UK from the EU, without House of Commons approval. This amendment was agreed to on division.
A new clause has also been added to the Finance Bill requiring the Chancellor to review the effects of clauses 79 and 80 of the Finance Bill and to report on this to the House of Commons by 30 March 2019. These clauses concern extended assessment time limits for offshore matters. The review must also consider the loan charge provisions.
A revised version of the Finance Bill incorporating all amendments passed in the House of Commons was published on 9 January 2019. As no further changes can now be made, it is this version of the Bill that will become Finance Act 2019 following Royal Assent.
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