MPs are to meet at the House of Commons next week to vote on a proposed amendment to the 2019-21 Finance Bill proposing a further two-year delay to the extension of the controversial Off-Payroll legislation to the private sector.
Tabled by Conservative MP David Davis, and included within the House of Commons order paper for Tuesday 19 May, the amendment proposes that the private sector rollout be postponed until the tax year 2023-24.
Following a 12-month delay due to the coronavirus outbreak, the Off-Payroll Tax was notably included in the second reading of the Finance Bill last month, despite calls from the House of Lords for a review and ultimate overhaul of the damaging legislation.
Tory rebellion leaves Off-Payroll future hanging in the balance
The amendment poses another potential stumbling block for a Government apparently intent on forcing the Off-Payroll Tax through Parliament in the face of heavy criticism and evidence of non-compliance and inherent unfairness. Though a vocal supporter of the UK’s self-employed, the decision by Davis to table the amendment is a bold one.
However, for the amendment to be included, contractors will be reliant on similar acts of rebellion from a number of other Conservative MPs, with the resolution due to be voted on next Tuesday.
A house majority is needed to advance the amendment. This would require at least 40 Tory MPs to vote in favour of the amendment, depending on factors such as voter turnout and votes cast by non-Conservative MPs.
“Should the amendment be included in the Finance Bill, who knows what will happen?” comments ContractorCalculator CEO Dave Chaplin. “Government won’t want to introduce legislation that won’t take effect for another three years. That would be madness. A lot could happen over the course of three years, especially with the mounting pressure for Government to scrap the Off-Payroll Tax and identify a better, fairer alternative.”
Off-Payroll campaigning efforts rewarded by amendment
Davis’ amendment shows that the fight against the Off-Payroll Tax is not over, and Chaplin is keen to acknowledge the crucial part played by those who have campaigned against the draconian measures:
“The tabling of this amendment is thanks in large part to more than 3,000 campaigners who have worked tirelessly to support the Stop the Off-Payroll Tax campaign. Each of them should give themselves a pat on the back for helping us get this far.
“A key component of our campaign has been to encourage individuals to speak directly with their local MP about the Off-Payroll Tax and the damage it has caused. As a result of this, we’re expecting a significant amount of support for the amendment. However, ultimately, whether enough MPs are willing to lend their backing to the UK’s self-employed remains to be seen.”
Contractors can help push for the delay by joining the campaign and contacting their MP.