2011, a taxing time

As we say goodbye to 2011 and start digesting the many hundreds of pages which make up the draft legislation for the 2012 finance bill; it is perhaps worth taking stock of the year just past and reflecting on what this might mean for the future of taxation.

For many, 2011 was the year of the task forces. HMRC launched wave after wave of special reviews tackling everyone from plumbers to piano teachers and from non-VAT payers to small businesses. In every case the aim was to catch those who were evading taxes but in the process many legitimate businesses had to prove themselves.

For others, 2011 highlighted the extent to which the EU has become embroiled in our tax lives. We have reported on a few of the cases which resulted in appeals to the EU, including a ruling on VAT and compound interest and the EU review of the UK-Swiss tax treaty. Those who say that because we are not in the single currency the EU has no say in our finance and tax decisions are sadly mistaken.

With manufactured overseas dividends, anti-avoidance schemes in respect of tax treaties, stamp duty land tax schemes and other tax planning measures coming under the spotlight in 2011, the Government has signalled its intention to close as many tax loopholes as possible. Whilst the reviews have had the effect of eliminating many tax avoidance schemes the good news is that there is still plenty of scope for legitimate tax planning.

Whether 2012 will be known as the year of the Financial Transaction tax or not is still up for debate with the Government resisting EU pressure in this area. However, we can predict that those planning tax measures in 2012 will need to take extra care to ensure that their plans take account of UK, EU and international law as the rules become more complex in an attempt to catch those who attempt to evade rather than to plan.

As tax mitigation specialists Newshams are able to give advice on how legislation can impact on a tax planning strategy.

Contact us now on 020 7470 8820 and ask to speak to a tax adviser about the potential tax implications of private, business, property or international transactions or e-mail us at enquiries@newshams.com and we’ll get straight back to you.

20 December 2011

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