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Tax Administration and Maintenance Day: current IHT and CGT regimes will stay put

andrewLast week marked the UK’s first “Tax Administration and Maintenance Day”, which came shortly after the Autumn Budget was presented. The day saw a series of tax policy updates and consultations published, all claiming to be geared towards the simplification and modernisation of the tax system.

What is changing?

From the perspective of capital taxes for individuals, the answer seems to be “not a lot”. After much speculation about potential changes to Inheritance Tax (IHT) and Capital Gains Tax (CGT), the Government’s announcements that there will be no notable changes to either regime seem somewhat anti-climactic.

Inheritance Tax

In its 2019 report, the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) made a number of IHT-related recommendations. One of which was to simplify the lifetime gifting exemptions, it also suggested changing the scope of reliefs such as those for business property and agricultural property. While acknowledging the value of the OTS report, the Government has decided not to go ahead with any IHT reforms for the time being. In terms of their reasoning, the Treasury cited the need to rebuild public finances and noted the important role that IHT plays in this. The current thresholds for both the Nil Rate Band and Residence Nil Rate Band will remain as they are, at least up to and including 2025-26.

Capital Gains Tax

As with IHT, no fundamental changes will be made to the current CGT regime. The Government did, however, accept five of the OTS’s recommendations which will bring some administrative changes. These are:-

    1. An extension of the window during which assets can be transferred on a “no gain no loss” basis in the context of separation and divorce. A consultation will take place in 2022 on the details of this;
    2. The deadline for reporting and paying CGT on UK property disposals will be extended from 30 to 60 days (this was announced earlier in the year as part of the Autumn Budget);
    3. A consultation is also expected to take place on the expansion of the rollover relief rules in the context of land and buildings acquired under compulsory purchase orders;
    4. The different methods of reporting and paying CGT will be streamlined and brought together in the “Single Customer Account” which is currently being developed by HMRC; and
    5. Guidance on a number of topics will be improved, including UK Property Tax returns and working from home.

In addition to these, the Government has committed to considering a further five more technical reform proposals. It has stated that it will keep the system under review to ensure it remains efficient, but there is no indication of CGT rates changing any time soon.

Other announcements

A number of other announcements were made, including the introduction of a new HMRC stakeholder forum on dealing with offshore tax non-compliance. In addition, a consultation is to take place about mixed-use property purchases and Multiple Dwellings Relief.

Murray Beith Murray, Edinburgh

Murray Beith Murray are specialists in asset protection and tax. If this article has raised any questions or you would like to discuss your personal legal affairs with one of our expert estate planning lawyers, then please complete our contact form or call us on 0131 225 1200.

Murray Beith Murray was established in 1849, as advisors for generations of clients, committed to our values of integrity, expertise and trust. This aim and these values continue to this day as does our commitment to be here when you need us.

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