The recent election result has certainly thrown the cat amongst the pigeons.
Manifesto pledges that were removed from the Queen's speech include:
- cancelling plans to remove the triple lock on pensions
- the means testing of winter fuel payments
- the introduction of new grammar schools, and possibly
- a softening of the approach to Brexit negotiations
Philip Hammond has kept his job at number 11 Downing Street and this will add some continuity to any other tax changes that may be forthcoming. A stripped-down version of Finance Bill 2017 was fast-tracked through the last Parliament and received Royal Assent before Parliament was dissolved. To achieve this, the government deleted 72 out of 135 clauses and 18 out of 29 schedules from the original Bill. This included the legislation for the introduction of Making Tax Digital (MTD) which was expected to be introduced in April 2018. Other measures that were removed from the Bill include corporate loss relief and interest deductibility, VAT in relation to fulfilment houses and penalties for enablers of defeated tax avoidance schemes.
We are also expecting the first ever Autumn Budget later this year as the changes to the Budget cycle take effect. By then, we should have a better idea of the direction this new Parliament is taking and what effect the Brexit negotiations are having.
This, of course, all depends on Mrs May's efforts to maintain her minority government.
The major tax item that is still not fully implemented, and that will affect all businesses in future years, is HMRC's progress towards their digitisation of tax payer records - the so-called Making Tax Digital program.
At present, we are told that the self-employed with turnover above the current VAT registration limit will need to be in a position to upload summarised accounts information via their approved accounts software, from April 2018. Other businesses will be required to comply in future years. It should be noted that legislation is still outstanding to formalise this arrangement.
However, taking the first step, by choosing the authorised accounts software you should use, will not only provide you with a solution to upload data to HMRC in due course, it will also provide you better access to your financial information. If you are still undecided which software to use, we can advise. We realise that this is a difficult "first step" for many smaller business owners, who have been used to less complex recording systems in the past, and don't forget that businesses include property landlords. Please call so that we can discuss your needs in more detail.