Simon Littlejohns, Partner and Head of Tax at Birmingham accountants and business advisers Friend Partnership Limited discusses the Birmingham 2016 Insurance and Financial Services Conference.

Earlier this week I addressed the great and the good from the region’s insurance and financial services industries at a conference hosted by the Birmingham Insurance Institute.

It was great to see so many people take the time out of their busy schedules to gather new insights and share knowledge.  I think we would all agree, it is really important to make the most of the opportunity to educate, exchange information and to open-up thought-provoking conversations or even debates with our peers.

My talk, which formed part of a varied speaker programme, was aimed at keeping attendees updated on tax and financial planning changes.  With new rules regularly brought into play, it is essential for those advising on the finances of others to ensure their technical knowledge is as up-to-date as possible.

There have been changes to the tax treatment of pension contributions, for example, which present both pitfalls and planning opportunities – and these were discussed in detail – as was the increase in the IHT nil rate band to £1 million, and how this is not quite what it seems.

A hike in Stamp Duty Land Tax for those purchasing second homes was introduced in April, and I explored how landlords should be looking carefully at their financial models and future buy-to-let investments.  The radical change to the tax treatment of dividends, and how to potentially lessen the tax impact, was also on the agenda, as well as the latest issues for owner managed businesses.

I firmly believe tax – a subject which affects all of our lives – does not have to be taxing.  However it is a constantly changing landscape; and each subsequent Budget brings with it new considerations, issues, challenges and opportunities.

At Friend, we welcome the chance to inform and update our clients – and indeed our peers.  If you would like to discuss any tax changes in more detail, we would love to hear from you.  Call Simon Littlejohns on 0121 633 2000.