Simon Littlejohns, Partner and Head of Tax at Chartered Accountants Friend Partnership Limited, with offices in Birmingham and London, discusses the future of tax planning.Mr Osborne’s recent Budget Statement created quite a stir with a number of surprises the pundits had not expected. Rather than examine any particular Budget measure in detail I would like to take a step back and consider how the tax planning landscape has changed over recent years and where tax practitioners may be concentrating their tax planning efforts in the years to come.In the past 10 years, we have seen the introduction of a number of anti-avoidance measures, numerous tax incentives and a limited degree of simplification which in one way or another are helping to shape the tax code in this country.
So where does that leave tax planning?
In rude health is my simple answer. As a tax practitioner of 30 years’ standing, I have spent those years advising a wide and eclectic range of personal and corporate tax clients on all manner of tax planning initiatives. That is continuing to this day with the challenge as it has always been – understanding a client’s commercial objectives and helping them to devise plans to achieve those objectives in the most tax efficient way.
There are now many valuable reliefs for businesses and individuals within the UK tax code which enable well informed taxpayers to reduce their tax bills.
As a tax practitioner, and trusted adviser, I aim to get close to clients, and stay close through regular communication, so that I am in the best possible position to explore all tax planning initiatives with them.
Some examples of the tax incentives available are:
- Entrepreneurs’ Relief gives a 10% rate of tax on business disposals – there is plenty of planning that may be necessary in order to maximise the relief for clients.
- How many businesses are undertaking research and development work for which enhanced relief, or in some cases cash payments, are available. In many cases the relief is going unclaimed because businesses have not had the appropriate advice.
- For businesses exploiting their patents – a 10% rate of corporation tax will be available by 2017.
- There are a number of tax reliefs for those businesses in the creative sector.
- EIS planning is valuable for companies and individuals but with a host of conditions to be met.
- There are many tax reliefs available to individuals to help them plan their financial affairs in a tax efficient manner.
Tax planning is alive and kicking – with the complexity of some of the rules there is plenty for tax practitioners to explore with their clients.
In successive blogs I hope to deal with current tax issues and identify planning possibilities, and pitfalls, for personal and corporate taxpayers.
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