Budget crystal ball gazing

Philip Hammond exudes the steady as we go approach and yet the Prime Minister was full of beans when addressing the Conservative conference today. We are promised the end of austerity and handouts to counter any negative effects of Brexit. But what are we to expect when the Chancellor steps up the box on the 29th?

My budget predictions

This is my take on possible items for the 2018 Autumn Budget:

  • Further tightening of legislation to stop the use of tax avoidance schemes.
  • A possible Google tax on the income of businesses that sell goods in the UK (usually on the internet) but divert most of their profits to low-tax jurisdictions, thus avoiding UK corporation tax.
  • The usual inflation proofing of tax allowances.
  • Very doubtful we will see an increase in tax rates, although there may be a promise of further, minor reductions to corporation tax in future years – thus establishing the UK as a de facto tax haven for business.
  • As we now have high levels of personal debt in the UK, a really useful additional relief would be tax relief at basic rate on credit card interest payments?
  • The government is supposed to be promoting tax simplification. Could we see capital gains taxed as income and the complex CGT rules scrapped?
  • The Office of Tax Simplification did toy with the idea that small company profits be taxed under income tax rules on shareholders – the “look through” scheme. This was abandoned as too complex, but what about an increase in the hybrid rates of dividend tax to compensate for lost NIC deductions?

And don’t forget the clauses already published. There are 40.

Presenting budget updates to clients

I do encourage firms to reconsider how they present the budget news and other tax announcements to clients.

To most taxpayers, especially those who are invited to read the usual post budget summaries, changes announced take on the appearance of “yawn” material: something to read (and not finish) if you have difficulty sleeping. The written word requires readers to create interest in the material they read, and I’m afraid, reading about tax – even if self-interest takes a part – does not quite hit the spot.

However, part of our job is to keep clients informed and up to date, which is why any attempt to make budget summaries more entertaining is worth consideration, and video presents just such an opportunity.

I write the scripted budget video output for our Budget Box service. Tapping into this visual presentation of otherwise dry information can engage visitors directed to the content on your website. At present, I guarantees to have the video ready for your website the day after the budget. You will also have access to the script and a fact sheet that you can send to clients…

If you would like to access video content for your website Landmark is offering discounted access to the 2018 autumn budget video for just £130 plus VAT. No strings attached. I will leave the offer open until 26th October.

My Budget summary

In reality, Brexit will likely scupper any major changes and I doubt Philip Hammond will be confident enough to give too much away. So in most respects its more likely to be “steady as you go”.

The Chancellor is breaking with tradition and has set budget day for a Monday. Must remember to go easy on the beers Sunday night. Budget day is usually the busiest day of my working year.

Bob Edwards

Bob has been working with practices across the UK offering novel ways to improve cross-sales and increase new client acquisitions. He is also interested in "step changes" in legislation that offer challenges, and therefore opportunities, for practitioners to provide new recurring and one-off support services to clients.

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