HMRC has launched a new consultation on the 'operation of Insurance Premium Tax' (IPT). The consultation aims to review how the scheme can be 'modernised' in order for it to become 'more efficient' for both businesses and HMRC.
Meanwhile, the Department for International Trade (DIT) has launched a new online tool which allows international investors to search for and connect with a range of UK firms in order to make use of their products and services.
HMRC launches consultation on the operation of Insurance Premium Tax
HMRC has launched a new consultation on how the administration and collection of Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) can be 'modernised' in order to provide 'optimal efficiency for both business and HMRC'.
In its consultation document, HMRC stated that, over the past 25 years, a number of changes have been made to IPT to ensure it 'keeps pace with industry developments', continues to operate fairly and removes opportunities for avoidance and evasion.
The consultation aims to review the extent to which there are emerging practices leading to 'unfair tax outcomes'. HMRC has stressed that the consultation focuses on the operation of IPT, and does not, therefore, consider the current rates of IPT nor the current exemptions to IPT.
HMRC's consultation document states: 'We have been made aware of business practices involving administration and arrangement fees which may be leading to unfair tax outcomes in the insurance industry. This involves the artificial manipulation of insurance and broker structures to create different tax outcomes. IPT is chargeable on the gross premiums, whereas fees are not subject to IPT or VAT.'
HMRC proposes extending the scope of IPT to include administration fees, in order to 'align their treatment with commission'.
DIT launches online tool for international investors
The Department for International Trade (DIT) has launched an online tool to help potential international investors set up and expand their operations in the UK.
The new tool, termed the UK Investment Support Directory, enables international investors to connect with a range of businesses across the UK. The directory allows potential investors to find an expert in their specific industry or region. They are also able to source the business and language expertise they require.
The DIT hopes that the new tool will help to support foreign investment by streamlining connections between UK businesses and investors based overseas.
Experts listed in the directory include those in the accountancy, law, consultancy and recruitment industries, amongst many others. Once selected, businesses will offer a free one-hour consultation to discuss the potential investor's needs.
According to the DIT, the UK Investment Support Directory has been created to make information about the investment process 'more accessible', and is part of a wider initiative to 'generate more foreign direct investment in the UK'.
Graham Stuart, Minister for Investment, said: 'The launch of the new UK Investment Support Directory is one of many ways in which the DIT is helping to drive investment to every corner of the UK. We hope this new directory will be an invaluable resource for investors thinking of setting up operations in the UK.'