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Osborne 'in £1 million inheritance tax giveaway'

The Chancellor has drawn up plans to allow parents to leave homes worth up £1 million to their children without paying inheritance tax, according to leaked Treasury papers.

The Guardian stated it had seen documents that also showed the inheritance tax bill on properties worth up to £2 million would be cut by £140,000 under the scheme.

It is understood the measure will not feature in Wednesday's Budget. Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

The papers, marked "sensitive", note the main beneficiaries of the plan - which would cost the Exchequer almost £1 billion a year - would "most likely benefit high income and wealthier households".

It is understood the measure will not feature in George Osborne's final Budget of the current Parliament tomorrow, but could be taken up by the Conservatives if they regain power after the General Election.

A Treasury spokeswoman said they had no comment on the report.

Miliband pledges review into HMRC approach to tax evasion

Labour leader Ed Miliband has promised an independent review into the way HMRC investigates tax evasion.

Speaking to delegates at the Welsh Labour Party Conference, he said:

Ed Balls and I are today announcing an independent, root and branch review of the culture and practice of HMRC when it comes to tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance. While this government has had five years of inaction, we will begin from the first days we are in government and it will report within three months. It will shine a light on parts of our tax system that have been shrouded in secrecy under this government.

– Ed Miliband, labour leader


Miliband: Government 'shrugged its shoulders on tax avoidance'

Ed Miliband addresses delegates at the Welsh Labour Party Conference.

Labour leader Ed Miliband has accused the Government of "shrugging its shoulders on tax avoidance".

He said there was "one rule for the rich and powerful and another rule for everyone else" and criticised the "hugely complex ... tax schemes often based offshore" that he says has cost the nation's finances £34 billion.

360,000 people scramble to meet tax return deadline

Hundreds of thousands of people rushed to meet the tax return deadline. Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Nearly 360,000 people have filed self-assessment tax returns in a last-minute rush to meet the deadline.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) said the forms were received between midnight and 9pm on Saturday and almost 10.2 million had been filed in total.

The deadline for submitting an online self-assessment tax return and paying any tax due was midnight on Saturday 31st January.

Those in self-assessment who fail to meet this face an initial fixed penalty of £100, even if there is no tax to pay, plus interest on any tax not paid by the due date.

All tax returns which are still outstanding must be submitted online, as the deadline for filing paper returns passed on 31st October last year.

On last year's deadline day, 557,000 people scrambled to get their returns in online.

Business leaders call for radical tax reforms

Business leaders have called on the Government to merge or scrap taxes raising less than £5 billion for the Treasury.

The Institute of Directors has called for some taxes to be merged or scrapped. Credit: Chris Radburn/PA

The Institute of Directors (IoD) said taxes such as stamp duty on shares, air passenger duty, and capital gains and inheritance tax could be simplified or reduced.

Stephen Herring, head of taxation at the IoD, said: "The basic principles here are that taxes should be focused purely upon the fiscal revenues collected and their wider economic impact. They should not be confiscatory, punishing or unduly complex."

He added: "We continue to support the priority given to reducing the UK's annual fiscal deficit and recognise that this is no easy task. We also support reforms that have improved the UK's competitive ranking as a business friendly country.

"However, we have been disappointed with the pace of tax reform under the Coalition, and a more radical agenda for tax reforms is now needed."

NAO: 11 tax reliefs increased by a quarter since 2007

The National Audit Office examined 10 tax breaks in detail to see whether the government was monitoring them properly.

It found data was not always held on the cost of reliefs to the public purse, even when it was thought to be in the order of hundreds of millions of pounds.

HMRC rarely assessed if tax breaks were having the desired effects on behaviour, or whether they were being widely abused.

Of 46 high-value reliefs with economic or social objectives, 11 had increased by at least a quarter in real terms since 2007.

Although the department had theories as to why the costs may have shifted, "it tended to seek the most obvious explanation and did not try to definitively rule out abuse", the report said.

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