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The Autumn Statement is set to be an important event. We have a new Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer with a potentially different slant on economic policy than their predecessors. There is also the need to deal with the impact of Brexit.
On top of that we have HMRC proposing a number of short term and long term changes to our tax system. Over the summer, HMRC issued over 30 consultation documents. Many of these are technical in nature but there are some big themes being aired. Chief among these are the proposals related to the Making Tax Digital project. Six of the consultation documents cover different aspects of the project at the heart of which lies the desire to allow all personal and business taxpayers to engage with HMRC online and for taxpayers to see up to date and accurate information on their tax bills throughout each tax year.
Three of the consultation documents contain proposals to tackle the hidden economy. In 2013/14, the hidden economy 'tax gap' was £6.2 billion and HMRC are tasked with reducing the size of that gap.
We will, of course, try to ensure you are kept up to date with tax changes that may impact upon you and your business.
In July, the Prime Minister, Theresa May, made a major overhaul of the departments responsible for business. The new department overseeing business matters is the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. This is quite a mouthful. Its acronym is BEIS. It has been created by merging the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).
Research suggests that when we are distracted from a piece of work it takes between 10 and 15 minutes to get back to that point of focus afterwards. It is therefore not surprising that our scheduled work tasks are not being completed, when we are being distracted many times each day.
In recent years many companies have been preparing and filing 'small company accounts' under a Financial Reporting Standard for Small Entities (FRSSE). However for financial years beginning on or after 1 January 2016, FRSSE has been withdrawn and small companies, which qualify as 'micro-entities', have a new choice:
Latest figures from HMRC reveal a 22% increase in inheritance tax (IHT) receipts in the 2015/16 tax year. This is a significant uplift from the average 12% annual increases that have been experienced since 2010. There are several factors which have contributed to the latest increase including rising property prices and the static IHT nil rate band. The nil rate band has remained at £325,000 since April 2009 and is set to remain frozen at this amount until April 2021.
After much delay, the Tax-Free Childcare scheme will be launched to parents from early 2017. The scheme will be rolled out gradually, with parents of the youngest children able to apply first. All eligible parents will be able to join the scheme by the end of 2017.
Investors' Relief (IR) is a new tax relief designed to attract new share capital into unlisted companies. It was announced in the 2016 Budget as an extension to Entrepreneurs' Relief (ER) but the potential beneficiaries of IR are different to the shareholders who are entitled to ER.
Our current tax regime provides a potential benefit of a historically high level of income tax personal allowance. The increases in the personal allowance in recent years has come at the cost of reductions in the band of income being taxed at basic rate but, in the current year, an individual may have £43,000 of income before higher rate tax applies. Married couples and civil partners have opportunities to double the income limit and they are helped by the tax rules which treat asset transfers between couples as tax neutral. There are however traps for the unwary.
This publication is published for the information of clients. It provides only an overview of the regulations in force at the date of publication and no action should be taken without consulting the detailed legislation or seeking professional advice. Therefore no responsibility for loss occasioned by any person acting or refraining from action as a result of the material contained in this publication can be accepted by the authors or the firm.
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