The announcement in the Pre-Budget Report regarding the bank payroll tax continues to cause disquiet – not least because of the uncertainty which it creates. For example it only applies to bonuses to relevant banking employees, that is to say employees whose duties are wholly or mainly concerned with “relevant regulated activities or otherwise consist of the lending of money”. This looks like fund managers are excluded (new examples keep popping up), and as this uncertainty may well continue beyond the time when the bonuses need to be paid, the banks will not know the extent of their exposure in time. I do not think anybody is going to be particularly concerned about this – other than those who have old fashioned views about the rule of law.

HMRC have published a list of FAQs to assist in the understanding of the new rules – or how the rules are expected to operate when they are enacted. Some of the answers are helpful, but regrettably rather too many of them say that it all depends on the facts, or depends on the contract or on the precise legal analysis … or something.