‘MAKE YOUR MIND UP, GEORGE’ seems to be the message coming from advisors and business stakeholders following the bore-fest yesterday that was the Autumn Statement.
Governments have a licence to change their mind, seemingly as the wind blows. But the chancellor’s early talk of tax certainty and simplicity doesn’t really stack up as we stumble towards the mid-term point of parliament.
After this year’s post-Budget embarrassing flip-flops around pasties, caravans and skips, we’ve seen a big, though welcome, turnaround on capital allowances for plant investment.
But a government that is pushing the public hard to get a grip of their pensions then deems it necessary to lower relief on pensions – that’s a mixed message. The additional rate will, of course, move back down to 45% – as if it had ants in its pants.
Meanwhile, concerns over cash accounting rules and employee shareholder schemes seem likely to fall on deaf ears.
Tax advisors moan about all the change, but change is usually a good way for them to make more money. Their underlying, key, concern is showing that the UK is attractive for investment.
On the corporate side, it seems that yesterday was a good day. However, advisors will have to earn their corn to help individuals, following some of George’s decisions.
While certainty and simplicity make the most attractive aspect of any tax system, there is little chance of that ahead in the current economic climate.
We can only hope that George doesn’t flip-flop his way towards more silly, and off-putting, ideas in six months’ time.
Kevin Reed is editor of Accountancy Age and Financial Director
Does Darwin's theory apply to taxation? Colin ponders...
Improvements to cashflow statements are being targeted in a consultation launched by the Financial Reporting Council (FRC)
The UK tax gap fell in 2014-15 to its lowest-ever level of 6.5%, revealed official statistics published today
Changes to the tax system is urged to support the growth of entrepreneurs, found a report from the Grant Thornton UK, the Institute of Directors, and the Prelude Group