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AS2013: Lack of detail means the fun’s in the Finance Bill

THE DEVIL is in the detail. A hackneyed phrase, and one I’m personally sick of. But it seems to bounce around the head on Budget or Autumn Statement days. And today was weary and unexceptional.

As has already been pointed out, chancellor Osborne’s statement was amazing for saying so little and taking so long – particularly as so much had been trailed already.

But he still has a bit of the Gordon Brown about him – burying important issues within the Budget book’s leaves, and omitting key details from the plans. For Accountancy Age most of the fun, relatively speaking of course, came from concerns about how the partnership/LLP anti-avoidance plans will work, and how HMRC will manage new powers where ‘adversaries’ have to pay up until a tax dispute is resolved. Perusal of the Finance Bill is going to be very important – a bit like the good-old bad old days.

The various business rate reliefs and discounts were welcome, but again it’s a question of how to educate these budding entrepreneurs about the various, complex, stimuli they are being afforded.

The overall impression was that of an underwhelming effort – but then don’t we want these events to be like that sometimes? Maybe the detail, in the form of the draft legislation, will tell us otherwise.

Kevin Reed is the editor of Accountancy Age and Financial Director

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