Last 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.
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.
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.
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:-
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.
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.
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