HMRC delays landfill tax guidance

By Tom Goulding

Publication of guidance on the application of the lower rate of landfill tax is to be postponed, Her Majestys Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has revealed, due to the volume of responses it received to its consultation on the issue.

HMRC, which intended to publish its draft guidance on November 11, told letsrecycle.com the date had never been set in stone, and would now be looking to release the guidelines at an unconfirmed later date.

HMRC has delayed the release of its guidance on landfill tax in wake of issues raised during the consultation process
HMRC has delayed the release of its guidance on landfill tax in wake of issues raised during the consultation process

While HMRC would not confirm the number of responses to its consultation, which closed earlier this week (October 20), it admitted it now needed time to address issues raised by the large number of respondents.

An email sent on October 22 to some skip operators that contacted HMRC over the proposed clarifications reads: Thank you for your email in response to the ‘Landfill tax – draft further guidance on lower rating’, which was published on our website on September 9 with a six-week informal consultation period ending on October 20.

We are currently reviewing the responses received and I can assure you that your comments will be carefully considered as part of this process. The draft guidance states that HMRC aim to finalise and formally publish revised guidance by 11 November 2013.

Owing to the number and nature of responses received, we now think it is unlikely that we will be in position to publish the draft guidance by that date. In the meantime the existing guidance remains extant.

Postponement

The postponement follows a long debate in recent months surrounding the clarifications over which materials should be subject to the standard level of landfill tax currently set at 72 per tonne and which material can be charged the lower rate of landfill tax, which stands at 2.50.

Last week, the United Resource Operators Consortium (UROC) criticised the draft guidance as unworkable in a letter written to HMRC and circulated among its members (see letsrecycle.com story).

Written on behalf of its members, UROC argued the proposed clarifications created further confusion for business, while increasing the cost of skip hire.

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Meanwhile, the trade body is still due to meet with HMRC and the Environmental Services Association (ESA) to discuss the proposals on November 5.

ESA, whose membership includes companies that run most of the UKs landfill sites, has already announced its support for the guidance, stating the rules have only been clarified to remind industry stakeholders of their responsibilities under the legislation (see letsrecycle.com story).

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