In what seems a rare feat for parliament, last week saw the grant of Royal Assent to the Finance Bill No2 2015, or as it will now be known, the Finance Act 2015. In less than three weeks legislators have driven the Finance Bill through a short cut process and we now have certainty – the changes announced are on the statute books – except, of course, they are not!
By fast-tracking the Bill various parts have been omitted, and these will presumably appear in the post election Finance Bill. These include:
- Measures to counter IHT planning avoidance.
- The new exemption for trivial benefits in kind.
- Changes to the EIS and VCT schemes.
We are now entering the election hiatus, where the only certainty about fiscal matters is that there is no certainty.
It is not clear if the present and partially ruling Conservative government have a few surprises in store if they manage to achieve a majority, as well as re-presenting the items omitted from the Finance Act 2015…
And we have the prospect of a variety of coalitions emerging post the election, if, as it is prophesied, there is a hung parliament.
All of which leaves tax planning, to some extent, in limbo. We will have to sit out the spin and aversion to answering straight questions, and even if we can find the odd hook to determine our cross on the ballot paper, until the flavour of the new government is determined, and they are given time to create their Finance Bill No3 2015, the balls are truly in the air.