“Tax Day” to follow after the Budget

The Financial Secretary to the Treasury has announced that there will be a “Tax Day” on 23 March on which the Government will make a number of additional announcements relating to tax policy including consultation updates. This will follow other fiscal announcements made in the usual way on Budget Day (on 3 March) which have immediate effect or relate to provisions for the Finance Bill.

This new approach was confirmed in a letter the Treasury Committee

Tax policy announcement update

In the session, I mentioned some of our early thinking about the timing of tax policy announcements, and this has continued to develop. Announcements which have fiscal implications that need to be captured in the OBR’s economic and fiscal outlook, and announcements of measures to be legislated in the Finance Bill, will be made on Budget day in the normal way. However, as I set out to the Committee, there is a case for announcing consultations separately from the Budget, where those consultations do not have to be published on Budget Day.

Having reflected further on this, I intend to lay a Command Paper, “Tax policies and consultations (Spring 2021)”, before the House on 23rd March which will contain further announcements relating to tax policy. The Command Paper will include a number of consultations, most of which will be published on the same day. Several of these consultations are an important part of the Government’s 10-year tax administration strategy, ‘Building a trusted, modern tax administration system’, which I published in the summer of last year. Some documents which are announced in the Budget and which the Government would usually have published alongside the Finance Bill, will also be published on this day.

As I mentioned in our session, the goal of making these announcements separately to the Budget, but still all on a single day, is to give a range of important but less high profile measures greater visibility among, and opportunity for scrutiny by, Parliamentary colleagues, tax professionals and other stakeholders. It will thus be, I hope, a small but potentially useful reform. The Treasury does not have any plans at this stage to update the current tax policy making framework, but it will seek stakeholder views before deciding on whether to make permanent changes, including of course from the Treasury Committee.