With ‘One Month Until Christmas’ trending on Twitter at the same time as ‘Spending Review’ the link is obvious.
However, it’s true that a few feared changes didn’t occur, such as Working Tax Credits, the Police Budget and Freelancer/Consultant Tax increases known as IR35.
Instead it feels as though there have been giveaways. Is this genuine?
It looks as though some reforecasting from the Office Budget Responsibility, including higher tax receipts, allowed George Osborne some flexibility.
In that case:
What presents do we want to return to the shop?
1. Second homes and buy-to-let properties increased stamp duty from April 2016
Although, according to the Chancellor We Are The Builders, the Chancellor added to the pain announced in the summer, making buy-to-let properties look less and less like viable investments for many people. If you’re happy with the interest tax relief restriction going forward, the obvious action is to complete your buy-to-let property purchase before April 2016 to keep your stamp duty bill down.
2. Capital gains tax on residential properties due by up to 21 months earlier from April 2019
When you sell a taxable residential property, such as a buy-to-let, you’ll be paying any tax due within 1 month of completion. In practice this will involve a lot of cooperation between accountants and solicitors. Presumably if you have a capital loss to use you can include that loss in your tax calculation to reduce your tax bill? Or will you have to fund a higher tax bill until you submit your year end tax return? Or perhaps it will simply be included in your quarterly digital account?
3. Quarterly reporting to HMRC if you’re in business, self employed or a landlord
Modernisation of tax administration through the planned digital accounts will require you to give quarterly figures to HMRC. This could be seen as an extension of the quarterly VAT return system. Having said that, VAT annual accounting was introduced specifically to help small businesses with turnover under £1.35m to reduce their administration costs. This and the possible further intervention required by accountants during the tax year, isn’t consistent with the message that small business red tape needs reducing and they should have less need for accountants.
As we know these gifts are wrapped up very well, but the reality is a new real time tax return system which will require some managing.