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What Do We Expect in Budget 2012?
20/03/2012, by Lee Sharpe, Tax News - Budgets and Autumn Statements
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Here is a run down of TaxationWeb's hot tips to look out for in tomorrow's Budget:

Update on Child Benefit "Cliff Edge" for Higher Rate Taxpayers - this was trailed heavily a fortnight or so ago. More recently it appears that the Chancellor has required some convincing that losing entitlement to this tax-free benefit immediately that a family member's income reaches the Higher Rate Threshold would be unpopular with the public(!) so how generous any changes might be is uncertain. But with some Tory back-benchers apparently suggesting it could be as politically sensitive as the Poll Tax (although Labour's abolition of the 10% starting rate in 2008 and subsequent tinkering with the Personal Allowance is far more recent), some 'smoothing' is expected. So, a taper perhaps triggered once the Threshold is reached.

Withdrawal of the 50% Income Tax Rate - again, this has been very much in the public awareness over the last week or so and the general expectation is that the Chancellor will start to bring the 'Additional Rate' down. It seems that both of the Conservative high command want to see the back of the Additional Rate however they also acknowledge that it is politically extremely sensitive. The Chancellor has requested figures to demonstrate the effectiveness of the 50% rate in raising additional revenue and of course HMRC is as yet unable to do so, except to highlight the significant 'spike' in revenues immediately before the introduction of the new rate which indicates that people who were able to do so, brought their taxable incomes forwards so as to avoid the higher rate. And of course those taxpayers will already be looking at delaying their income to later years, in anticipation of more favourable rates to come. It seems unlikely that the Chancellor will be able to justify any reduction in the top rate of tax, if he doesn't also 'help out' with Child Benefit. Although more likely he will try to tie it in with a raising of the Personal Allowance. But much has already been done to the detriment of lower-earning families in terms of changes to the Tax Credits system and the Chancellor appears to have 'gotten away' with that, so perhaps he will feel suitably emboldened?

Stamp Duty Avoidance - where the Chancellor goes on daytime television and denounces wealthy people who avoid SDLT by using offshore companies to buy expensive real estate in London, it seems certain that some schemes' days are numbered...

General Anti Avoidance - but why stop just at SDLT? It is rumoured that General Anti-Avoidance provisions have been the incentive for the Lib Dems to accept a cut in the Additional Rate, alongside an enhanced Personal Allowance

Cash Basis for Small Businesses - one of the recommendations in the Small Business Tax Review published by the Office of Tax Simplification at the end of February, and relatively easy to implement.

About The Author

Lee is TaxationWeb's Articles & News Editor and writes for TaxationWeb. He is a Chartered Tax Adviser with experience of advising individuals and owner-managed businesses over a broad spectrum of tax matters.
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