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Late, late tax planning

The 2009 Pre-Budget Report in December signalled a significant number of tax increases in the UK designed to make up the significant Budget deficit following the banking crisis. For many or our clients there will be a significant impact on their finances.-Income tax rates to rise and personal allowances to reduce for wealthier clients. -Future changes to rates applicable for dividends, trusts and NICs. -New 50% income tax band. There are further complicated rules for pension relief restriction and the end of well-established tax breaks for furnished holiday lettings (currently enjoying business tax advantages). There … Continue Reading

Scary tax planning in a changing world

I cannot remember a time when the tax regime in Britain was in a position of such flux. As we know the cost of the banking crisis and the recession has cost the government, or at least UK plc dearly. There is a huge deficit to be made up, exacerbated by the futile policy of reducing VAT from 17.5% to 15% for thirteen months. There is talk that after the election whoever is in power will have to raise VAT to 20%. There is not much we can do to mitigate this in advance, and from the Government’s point of … Continue Reading

Tax disenfranchisement

It was reported this last week that 1.5 million UK pensioners are paying too much tax which is because too much is being deducted from their occupational and private pensions and from any employment earnings they have. Once upon a time of course, most pensioners with taxable income of any sort had to complete tax returns. Since the introduction of Self Assessment in 1996-97 and increased automation and exchange of information as well as significant job cuts in what has become HM Revenue & Customs, far fewer people have to complete tax returns. In itself this is sensible, because why … Continue Reading

Is "progress" disenfranchising the non-technical population?

A couple of incidents recently highlighted have highlighted how easily “progress” can isolate people and prevent them from getting help, and those people are often the neediest.As a tax professional I am used to the bureaucracy of HM Revenue & Customs, though even for me it can be extremely frustrating. I received a form from HMRC concerning a pensions coding (Form P161 for the initiated). It was addressed to my firm, but did not have the taxpayer-client’s name on it, only the National Insurance number. I could not trace the number in my tax software and telephoned HMRC … Continue Reading

Render unto Caesar…

One of the problems we tax advisers have is in dealing with people, generally as prospects, who simply don’t want to pay any tax at all. Somehow, the current climate of cracking down on tax avoidance (legal) as well as tax evasion (illegal) seems to have passed by these people. Usually they go further: “Why should this Government get their hands on this money? I did not vote for them. They won’t spend it wisely. It is immoral how much they try to take.” Now many of us have these sentiments, but those of us who are law-abiding and understand … Continue Reading

March 2009 Tax Update and newsletter

As it is frowned upon to paste a blog in more than one place on the Web, please follow this link to the newsletter. I do hope you find it useful.

Dickering Darling delays amending capital gains reforms

What are we to make of Alistair Darling’s delay in the announcement of any amendments to his proposals on capital gains tax “reform”? He told the Commons on Thursday that he was postponing any decision on change until the New Year.

In my view, commentators tend to hang too much on what might be motive. There was, I am sure, genuine concern from the Chancellor and the Government that they had put their foot in it and made a serious misjudgement, and I am sure that that Treasury Civil Servants will … Continue Reading