Local professional support - July 2017

Changes in inheritance tax laws encourage charitable giving
Back in the March 2011 Budget, the Chancellor announced a cut in the rate of inheritance tax (IHT) for those leaving at least 10 per cent of their estate to a charity. Since then, statistics show there has been a sharp increase in the amount of charitable donations left in wills with an accompanying rise in the tax relief granted, suggesting that the policy is working as intended. Sadly though, there also seems to have been an increase in family members challenging wills where the family feel they have been disadvantaged as a result of the charitable bequests.

Recent HMRC systems errors raise concerns about Making Tax Digital
Two recent cases in which HMRC’s inability to present a clear and unambiguous case to the taxpayer and subsequently to the tribunal have led to a loss of tax and/or penalty which would otherwise be due. If these errors are down to HMRC’s IT systems not being designed with enough thought about how their outputs would appear to taxpayers, what hope is there for Making Tax Digital?

The tax implications of the Queen's speech
The accompanying notes to the Queen’s speech promise three finance bills over the course of this Parliament to implement Budget decisions. A key unanswered question is what we can expect from the Summer Finance Bill 2017. It is to be hoped this will include detailed measures in respect of individuals who are not domiciled in the UK, and in respect of HMRC's project to make tax digital.

HMRC guidance lacking clarity
Two recent tribunal cases have highlighted problems with the phrasing of HMRC guidance and the difficulties which it can cause for taxpayers. If HMRC rightly expects taxpayers to take reasonable care in filing their returns, isn’t it reasonable to expect them to take the same level of care in guidance notes?

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