“In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes”

Today, 9th January 2014, marks the anniversary of the first introduction of income tax in the UK. In his budget of 1798 William Pitt the Younger proposed a graduated income tax to pay for weapons and equipment in preparation for the Napoleonic Wars, it was introduced on this day in 1799.

Starting at a rate of 2d in the pound (0.8333%) on annual income over £60 this increased up to a maximum of 2 shillings in the pound (10%) on income of over £200. It is understood that the policy, which was intended to bring in up to £10 million in fact only collected £6 million, and the tax itself was finally repealed in 1816 (to return – this time for good- in 1842).

Although Benjamin Franklin’s quote that “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes” remains true, it is also true that the nature of income taxation is far more complex than it was 215 years ago.

“This is no less true than in the manner in which individuals supplied by agencies are taxed”, says Ben Grover of the recruitment and employment law specialist Lawspeed. “The current HM Treasury consultation on ‘Onshore Employment Intermediaries: False Self-employment’ sets out legislative proposals, and changes to HMRC presumptions and methods which could radically alter the way contractors and other ‘self-employed’ individuals are taxed and create new obligations on agencies and other intermediaries.”

Lawspeed will be providing its signature forensic analysis of the proposals at its seminars in Manchester and London on 15th and 22nd January respectively. Ben concluded “we are delighted that senior representatives from HMRC will also be attending the London event to hear attendees’ views and answer questions.”

Unintended consequences of new tax proposals on self employment could be considerable
HMRC to speak at London seminar 22nd January re contractor tax and false self employment