The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Responsible Tax

An APPG is an informal group of Members of both Houses of Parliament with a common interest in particular issues.

This particular APPG was established in 2015, under Chair Margaret Hodge, to address the question:

“How can Parliament help to build and maintain the fair, sustainable and transparent tax system that is needed if individuals, businesses and markets are to create growth and prosperity both in the UK and internationally?” 

The APPG has so far looked into OECD’s work on the BEPS project and, second, public confidence in HMRC’s capability to collect tax fairly and effectively.

It published a report in August 2016 into the former A more responsible tax system or sticking plaster?

As far as we are aware no report has been published in relation to the second Inquiry.

ICAEW responded to both Inquiries, see ICAEW REP 173/15  and ICAEW REP 161/16

In relation to the first Inquiry we set out all that was being done to recalibrate domestic and international tax  to produce more appropriate results but we felt that just months after the BEPS Action Plan final reports had been published was far too soon to try and reach any conclusion as to the success, or otherwise, of the Action Plan.

In relation to the HMRC Inquiry we stated in our related news blog:

“In our opening remarks we noted that the international community, under the auspices of the G20, had been working alongside OECD to recalibrate the international tax regime and to put in place minimum standards to which individual tax administrations ought to comply re their domestic legislation. The UK is one of the key supporters of the G20 and OECD in carrying out, and implementing, this work.

Another key to a well functioning tax system is a fair and robust relationship between the tax administration and taxpayers, particularly the largest businesses, so that tax difficulties can be resolved in an efficient manner. The UK has set up a system along the lines of the OECD cooperative compliance regimes through the establishment of the Large Business Directorate.

In more purely domestic terms HMRC has been under enormous pressure right from its set up in 2005 with very substantial reductions in head count and the closure of local offices. Service levels hit a significant low in early 2015 and there is still work to be done to rebuild trust and confidence in the system and to make it work as it should. The ICAEW annual reports into HMRC service standards are an important barometer into how performance is going.

The move to digital is going to have an enormous impact on the ability to provide a good tax system and we recognise this in our representation as well as expressing some concerns.”

Current developments

In November 2017 the APPG has held two meetings: one on Monday 6 November was an introductory session on What is Responsible Tax?” and “Why is it important?” with presentations from representatives from Lloyds Banking Group plc, Legal and General and Oxfam. A second meeting, on Tuesday 7 November, was a Briefing on the Paradise Papers with journalists from the Guardian and the BBC making presentations. Ian Young attended both of these meetings and set out the current position on the domestic and international tax front for the benefit of all those attending.

There are two further meetings:

20 November             Uber and the Gig Economy

23 November              How will Brexit affect UK tax policy?

Sara Ghaffari and Ian Young, respectively, will represent ICAEW at these forthcoming meetings.