The LGA supports the Government’s increased focus on preventing businesses from entering the hidden economy, alongside its existing compliance activity in this area.
- The LGA supports the Government’s increased focus on preventing businesses from entering the hidden economy, alongside its existing compliance activity in this area.
- Introducing tax registration as a condition of access to some licences or permits is equivalent to other checks (for example, Disclosure and Barring Service checks, or checks on the right to work under the Immigration Act) and we therefore agree it could in principle be incorporated into the licensing process. However, it is important in doing so that this does not increase burdens for authorities overseeing the licensing process.
- To ensure that a tax registration check does not impose burdens and delays for licensing authorities and applicants, it is vital that there is a simple method enabling licensing authorities to undertake a simple check on an applicant’s tax status, with cases referred to HMRC in the event of any discrepancies. There should be no expectation that licensing authorities would be expected to undertake any further investigative work.
- Introducing legislation that allowed licensing authorities to refuse to process an application without evidence of relevant tax registration would be the most effective mechanism to support conditionality.
- The LGA believes that there is scope for extending the principle of conditionality more widely in relation to licensed businesses. For example, licensing authorities experience difficulties with a small number of licenced premises which continue to operate despite being significantly in arrears on their business rates accounts; there are also ongoing problems with businesses that don’t pay their licence fees. The LGA would welcome a similar approach of conditionality in this area, with licences able to be frozen where businesses have repeatedly failed to pay their licence fees or business rates.