Hammond schedules Spring Statement 2018

The government’s Spring 2018 “Statement” -- not Budget -- has been timetabled by the chancellor for Tuesday March 13th 2018.

The distinction that the statement is not a Budget, nor a fiscal event, was made by Philip Hammond to MPs on the Treasury Select Committee.

It follows his pledge at Autumn Statement 2016 that, to make life easier for businesses and other taxpayers, there will be no further Budgets in the Spring, only the Autumn.

But the March statement is still an opportunity for Mr Hammond to respond to the OBR, the Treasury has confirmed, yet it too says major new policy announcements aren’t the intention.

Contractors will pour over the Spring Statement for its potential to provide new information on IR35 reform in the private sector -- which was mooted last month by the government.

The scheduling of the statement for March appears to fit with a prediction to ContractorUK today that a consultation on the reform may go live early in the new year, as the statement could then give the consultation’s recommendations the all-clear to be introduced. 

However, HMRC has ruled out extending the April 2017 off-payroll rules to the private sector as early as April 2018, Julia Kermode of the Freelancer & Contractor Services Association wrote on LinkedIn.

“This will allow time for proper meaningful consultation,” she reflected, following a FCSA meeting with the Revenue. “[And HMRC says the] off-payroll rules are just one option to consider.” 

Earlier this month, the Treasury said a single Budget in the Autumn accompanied by a statement in the spring was a move towards a “predictable, stable and simple tax system.”

But a new policy paper suggests Mr Hammond can still tinker if he sees fit. It says: “The Chancellor will not make significant tax or spending announcements at the Spring Statement, unless the economic circumstances require it.”

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