Hillier Hopkins LLP is holding a series of seminars on Making Tax Digital. Our own Ruth Corkin and HMRC’s Heather Elliot will present short explanations and provide technical background, followed by questions and refreshments. Demand has been high and although most places are now taken, if you would like to attend, please do put your name down on our waiting list.
Making Tax Digital (“MTD”) is the latest euphemism adopted by government for shifting the burden of tax collection onto the taxpayer. We have seen the terms “Customers” replace “Taxpayers”, “Officers” and “Case Workers” replace “Inspectors”, and of course “Self-Assessment” replacing “Assessment“. We have seen friendly “Tax doesn’t have to be taxing” adverts, and “Advice” emails adding to the spin. However, make no mistake, whatever your political allegiances, MTD is among the most intrusive government projects yet devised in modern Britain.
The highlights of today’s budget were neither high nor light, but the budget did effectively do what, politically, it should have done: as little as possible. It was merely sensible. The objectives: attract the youth, make a noise about housing, give money to the NHS. For an embattled government, Mr Hammond’s speech will be generally welcomed.
The Big Issue was in relation to housing and his amendments to Stamp Duty Land Tax (first-time buyer exemption for properties below £300,000 and the first £300,000 on properties priced up to £500,000) will attract younger voters, as will the extension of railcards up to the age of 30. Of course the fiscal impact is to focus ever more burden on those in their mid-years (31 to 65) who are expected to carry the entire weight of the economy on their shoulders. But this mid-range is not what the Chancellor sees as his target for favours.
Another Budget: another opportunity to criticise government. Inevitably some will pay more to, or get less from, government. The Press have predetermined that this is a “make or break” Budget for Mr Hammond who must try to fit a large square peg into an impossibly small, round hole.
He has to meet the popular expectation of entitlement and an even stronger belief that someone else should pick up the tab. Yet, this same population has also set a course into unchartered waters known as Brexit. Continue reading “Pre-Budget 2017: No Direction Home”
There can be little doubt that we have just witnessed a historically bad performance by the incumbent government, not quite a defeat for Mrs May, but a resounding discord from the people of the UK, for the second time in a year telling politicians that they cannot take for granted the views of the people.
I have heard it said that it was a choice between austerity and less state intervention on the one hand juxtaposed with big state and big spending on the other. I doubt it is that simple. Mrs May is, as I write, off to the Palace to propose her new government, but we should not think for a second that her policy is one of shrinking government. That is not an option for any government anymore, and with such a marginal position, we face a period of mediocrity in terms of government policy. That is what we voted for and what we will get. Continue reading “Out of the jaws of victory she snatched defeat”
Having no political affiliation provides me with the space to criticise everyone, and there is much to criticise in our politicians. It must be very difficult to try to behave in a principled manner, while being dependent on the popular vote. Doubtless that is the reason why principles are so often lacking in democracy (except the principle that someone else is always to blame). The assumption that underpins democracy is that the voters will, overall, behave in a principled and intelligent manner. We can see, perhaps, why life for a politician is complicated.
At the eve of a general election, it is interesting to ponder that the whole idea of democracy is that voters hear all the arguments and vote in their own best interest. The Invisible Hand which Adam Smith identified as underpinning capitalism should then act to give the best solution for the voters as a whole. Continue reading “M’aidez, May Day”
Here we are, at the end of March and the exercise of Article 50 is imminent. In fact, today the British Government announced it will issue its letter to the EU on 29th March. So now we have given notice that we are going to give notice. Maybe we should have had a bit more notice?
In June last year my firm carried out a survey of our clients to see what the business community made of the Referendum result. Later in the summer, we carried out a more in-depth survey for our professional association, UK200Group, which resulted in our better understanding the way a wide range of business people were thinking. Now, as we approach the day of reckoning, (or the start of the reckoning in which we reckon we might some day do something) we would like you to help us find out more.
You can have a look at our previous reports, of course, on HHeLLP:
Our new survey has been shortened and focused by the comments we received in the earlier surveys, and made a little more light-hearted in some areas. We would love to hear what you have to say, so please add your input to our Article 50 Survey, prepared for UK200Group. We have two versions:
Thank you for helping us, and we hope the result will be that we can help you better navigate your business through the murky Article 50 waters. Or, as Monty Python once suggested, to sail the accountant-sea.
Thank you for participating. You will be able to see our report in May, when the survey has closed, immediately following the UK200Group Brexit Forum where its result will be presented.