The 9th December may not seem an auspicious date but embattled practitioners across the UK will be keeping a weather eye open today as the Treasury publish the draft clauses for the Finance Bill 2016.
Much, of course, is in the public domain already:
• Changes to dividend tax
• Treatment of employee benefits and expenses
• Removal of the wear and tear allowance
• New penalties for serial tax avoiders and those who fall foul of the GAAR provisions
• Abolition of non-domicile status for those resident in the UK for more than 15 of the last 20 years
It would be useful if the new 3% stamp duty charge on second home and buy-to-let purchases were clarified. Does the 3% charge really apply to the total value of property purchased over £40,000 up to £125,000? Or should it just be 3% over £40,000 up to £125,000?
Legislation Day, as this publication date has come to be known, may also include conclusions, and perhaps draft legislation, linked to consultations recently closed by HMRC.
Whatever the draft clauses contain this is not a good time of the year for tax practitioners to take in the consequences for clients. Perhaps there is never a good time?
Tax planning usually achieves one of two aims: to assist clients minimise tax and grow their businesses, or avoid the numerous bear traps set to snare unwary tax payers that stray from the beaten track.
Maybe it could be the case that – plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose – the more it changes the more it stays the same? Unfortunately, it is impossible to maintain a respectable level of advice without keeping abreast of George’s new ideas. To do that we will have to read and digest today’s draft clauses.
During the next week or two keep an eye on our news-feeds as we pick up on the more significant changes.