Our Autumn Statement review and Christmas wishes

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Season’s greeting to all of you who read our blog.  The rain and floods won’t be adding much Christmas cheer to our readership North of the Pennines, so whilst many of us will be hoping for snow at Christmas more government intervention will be on the wish list for many.  We hope more help comes.

Of course we have had a lot of focus on government activity over recent weeks with the Syrian debate taking centre stage.  It has naturally over shadowed the Autumn Statement which on the whole held few surprises, but there were some interesting announcements which all have impact on underlying client activity.

From April 2016, Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) on residential properties purchased to let or as second homes will have a supplement of 3% applied to the normal rates for residential properties. Whilst this won’t be applied in Scotland this will have a significant impact on those planning a second or additional property.  Client’s capacity for loss could be impacted if markets take a down turn or if cash provision has not taken this into account.  Those advising clients with property investment at the heart of their portfolios should factor this in.  This move coupled with the news that from 2019, CGT due on the disposal of residences will be payable within 30 days of the completion disposal may also prompt some interesting discussions about property portfolios, an area often overlooked by both investors and advisers alike.

Also announced was the news that the government will legislate to allow the ISA savings of a deceased person to continue to benefit from tax advantages during the administration of their estate.  Plans for introducing this measure in 2016 will follow after technical consultation with ISA providers.  We might suggest this is the time to be considering, again, the IT infrastructure required to support this change.  At least Executors won’t feel the pressure this aspect of reduced tax reliefs creates.

The budget of £800m for HMRC to more effectively combat tax evasion and impose more fines and penalties will be welcome by most people especially after some of the scandalous examples of tax evasion which have been highlighted this year.  For most honest taxpayers (and I include businesses in this) it still highlights the need to structure your assets in a tax efficient manner and be aware of the ever changing rules applied by HMRC.

On that cheery note … FSTP would like to wish all our readers a very happy festive break and a prosperous 2016.

Julia Kirkland

Managing Partner