Taxation

"The Parliament shall have the power to enact and collect taxes".

This proposal sounds obvious, but it is a power of Parliament that should be specified in the Constitution.

John Z Apr 6, 2015

As the above states:  "The Parliament shall have the power to enact and collect taxes".

Some comments in the first stage stated that this power is inherent in Parliament's general powers, thus this provision as worded is unnecessary. 

Any thoughts?

Mark Cooke Apr 13, 2015

Isn't this the wrong way round -  

"No tax shall be levied without the consent of Parliament".

As old as the Bill of Rights, I think.

 

John Z Apr 13, 2015

But your wording requires Parliament to consent to ALL taxes, including local taxes.  

Hugh Ryan Apr 13, 2015

I think it also infers that someone else is doing the levying; originally this would have been the monarch.

My small suggestion is: "Parliament shall have the power to enact and order (i.e. arrange) the collection of government income by way of taxes, fees etc." I think 'taxes' is too limiting and liable to judicial interpretation i.e. what is and is not a 'tax'.

John Z Apr 14, 2015

Is this sufficient:

"The Parliament shall have the power to enact laws to raise and collect revenues".  Or should I add to the end of the quote "...for the government Treasury"?

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Mark Cooke Apr 13, 2015

That's true.

Did you have in mind that lower level bodies could create taxes (as opposed to setting rates) of their own volition?  If so that needs a lot of specific constitutional provision to avoid conflict.  Relatively few constitutions permit this,   although it's a live issue in the UK because of the Scottish question, of course.

 

 

Mark Cooke Apr 14, 2015

How about:

"Only Parliament  ..."

This would cover both ends of our points I think?

 

John Z Apr 14, 2015

I'm sure the devolution movement would object to "only Parliament" can raise taxes.   

Mark Cooke Apr 14, 2015

Well I asked that before:

The constitution needs to specify the extent of the tax raising powers at different levels;  I think it would be very problematic for devolved levels to have unrestricted powers to create taxes, so either I would leave this to the UK Parliament,  or reserve specific types of taxes to the devolved levels in the constitution.

Or a more radical idea - reserve all the tax creation powers to Parliament,  but mandate a certain proportion being devolved to the nations, regions and local government.

 

 

 

John Z Apr 14, 2015

The power to tax need not be an exclusive power to Parliament.  In one section of the Constitution, Parliament shall have that power, and in another section of the Constitution regarding devolution, that power may be held by another government entity as well.     

Mark Cooke Apr 15, 2015

It needn't be exclusive,  but the respective powers need to be spelled out.

You can't have two tiers with completely unrestricted tax making powers,  otherwise unmanageable conflicts may arise.  It is sensible to reserve the structural powers e.g. the form of income tax to the higher level, while giving the lower level(s) powers over rates etc. It would be unworkable to have two separate income taxes being operated within the UK.  (This is similar to the issue with VAT - the EU determines the general rules for VAT,  with the rates being set in the individual countries). 

You could give the power to create a limited class of taxes at the lower levels e.g. property taxes.

 

John Z Apr 15, 2015

True, but the taxing powers by other levels of government would not be detailed in the "Parliament" section of the Constitution;  rather, it would be in a different section.  There is such a proposal in the devolution section of this project. (https://constitutionuk.com/category/view#/post/86928).

Mark Cooke Apr 15, 2015

The link doesn't seem to work.

I'm not sure I agree though - it would be clearer to bring all the financial powers together in one place 

 

John Z Apr 15, 2015

Copy & paste it, but remove the (    ).

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