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The UK corporate tax rate has been a topic of intense debate in recent weeks. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is under increasing pressure from Conservative MPs to cancel the increase in the corporate tax rate that began in in April. While a government spokesperson has highlighted that the UK corporate tax rate remains relatively low compared to international standards, critics argue that any hike in taxes could stifle the economic recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic.

UK Corporate tax

Background on the UK corporate tax rate

The UK had one of the lowest corporate tax rates among developed nations, with a rate of 19% currently in place. This rate was introduced in 2017 and replaced the previous rate of 20%.

In comparison, the United States has a federal corporate tax rate of 21%, while France has a rate of 31%. Even other countries in the European Union have higher rates, with Germany’s corporate tax rate at 30% and Italy’s at 24%.

The UK’s low corporate tax rate has been attributed to a variety of factors, including the government’s efforts to attract foreign investment and stimulate economic growth. However, there have also been concerns raised about the impact of this low rate on public finances and the country’s ability to fund essential public services.

Given this context, its understandable why changes to the UK corporate tax rate are likely to generate significant interest and debate among politicians, businesses, and the general public alike.


Growing pressure from Conservative MPs on new tax rate

Conservative MPs are ramping up pressure on Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to revert the hike. Many MPs fear that this increase could hamper economic recovery, as businesses that have already been hit hard by the pandemic may struggle to absorb the extra costs.

Several prominent Conservative MPs have publicly called for the increase to be reverted, with former Cabinet Minister David Davis warning that “raising corporate taxes is exactly the wrong thing to do at this point in time.”

While the government has not yet indicated whether or not they plan to maintain the increase, they have stressed that the UK’s corporate tax rate is still relatively low by international standards.

Regardless, it seems that pressure from within the Conservative party is continuing to mount, with many MPs arguing April was not the time to raise taxes on businesses that are already struggling.


Government response and defence of current low rate

A spokesperson for the government has stated that the UK corporate tax rate is still relatively low by international standards. At 19%, the rate is below the average of the G20 countries, and significantly lower than that of many European nations.

The government has argued that a stable and competitive tax environment is vital to attract investment and create jobs. They have also emphasised the need to maintain revenue for public services, particularly in light of the significant economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

While some Conservative MPs have called for the corporate rate increase to be scrapped, the government’s response suggests that they are unlikely to change course. However, with pressure continuing to mount, it remains to be seen whether the government will make any concessions in this area.


Arguments for and against reverting the increase

The debate over whether or not to keep the increased UK corporate tax rate is becoming increasingly heated.

On one hand, proponents of the increase argue that the current low rate allows multinational corporations to exploit loopholes. This allows them to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. Additionally, the revenue generated from a higher tax rate could be used to fund social programs. Alongside other initiatives aimed at supporting businesses and individuals who’ve been hit by the pandemic.

On the other hand, opponents of the increase argue that it would be detrimental to businesses. This at a time, when many are struggling to recover from the economic impacts of the pandemic. They point out that the UK already has one of the highest corporate tax rates in the developed world. Also, that raising it further could lead to companies relocating to other countries. This allowing them to pay more favourable tax regimes. This, in turn, could lead to a loss of jobs and investment in the UK.


There are also concerns about the impact of a higher corporate tax rate on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Many argue that SMEs are already struggling to compete with larger corporations. The higher tax rate would only exacerbate this problem. Additionally, some argue that a higher tax rate could discourage entrepreneurship and innovation. These are vital to driving economic growth and creating jobs.

Ultimately, the decision on whether or not to revert the corporate tax increase looked to be a difficult one. However, the government must weigh the potential benefits of increased revenue against the potential costs to businesses and the wider economy. Whatever decision is made, it is clear that it will have a significant impact on the UK’s economic recovery.


Potential impact on businesses and the economy

If the corporate tax increase is implemented as planned, businesses across the UK have found they will shortly face higher tax bills, resulting in decreased profits and limited capacity for expansion and investment. This could also deter foreign investment in the UK and harm the overall competitiveness of the country.

On the other hand, cancelling the increase may provide relief to businesses struggling amid the pandemic. This could allow them to reinvest in their operations and retain staff. However, it could also reduce the government’s revenue at a time when public finances are already strained. This could result in cuts to public services.

The decision on whether or not to scrap the corporate tax increase is a delicate balance between

  • supporting businesses, &
  • ensuring a sustainable fiscal position for the government


Avoid the high corporate tax

Contrary to what you may believe, avoiding high corporate tax is pretty simple. The answer is don’t have a UK company. Now, this sounds quite drastic, but this is where we can support you. If you want to make your company more tax efficient – while also staying legal, speak to RHJ Law. We work across, Cyprus, Malta, Portugal and the United Arab Emirates to setup companies.


Speak to an expert

The debate over the increase in corporate tax rate in the UK continues to generate controversy. Some Conservative MPs calling on Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to scrap the revert the corporate tax rate. The government has defended the old low rate, arguing that it remains competitive on an international level. However, proponents of the increase suggest that the additional revenue could be good. They suggest it could be used to address other pressing issues facing the UK economy.

Ultimately, the decision to revert or maintain the increase will have a significant impact on businesses and the wider economy. It remains to be seen how the government will respond to growing pressure from within its own ranks. However, this is certainly a debate worth watching in the months ahead.

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