Chancellor urged to resist CGT ‘tax raid’

The Daily Mail’s Alex Brummer says that while the Chancellor will recognise the need for measures to address the state’s coronavirus bill, he must also recognise that the “worst possible way” of doing so would be to impose “swingeing” taxes. Pointing to an Office for Tax Simplification recommendation that would see capital gains taxed at the same rates as income, Mr Brummer says this would “stifle recovery and prosperity” by driving up taxation on enterprise and entrepreneurship, while trimming back tax-fee allowances would hit middle-income workers. He argues that increasing the CGT burden of capital gains on enterprise, savers and second property owners would “destroy the economy’s dynamism.”

Daily Mail, Page: 78

Minimum alcohol pricing would hit tax take

The Institute for Fiscal Studies has analysed the impact of Scotland’s minimum alcohol pricing scheme and calculates that if the 50p minimum unit price were extended to the whole of the UK under the existing system of alcohol taxes, tax revenue would fall by around £390m per year.

The Scotsman, Page: 5


HMRC are reminding taxpayers to stay alert for criminals claiming to be from HMRC as the deadline for submitting self-assessment (SA) tax returns approaches. In the last 12 months, HMRC have responded to more than 846,000 referrals of suspicious HMRC contact from the public and reported over 15,500 malicious web pages to internet service providers to be taken down. Almost 500,000 of the referrals from the public offered bogus tax rebates.  Further information can be found at: –



We have updated some of our Key Guides:-

Estate Planning

Fringe Benefits

Investing Tax Efficiently

Making Tax Digital

Off-Payroll Working

Starting and Selling a Business

Strategies for a High Tax Environment

Tax Allowances for Business Investment

Taxation of Property

Contact us if you have any queries,

Check out the KEY Guides in our Recent News Download Section:


One in seven businesses in fear of collapse

Around one in seven UK companies say they were at risk of collapse, according to a new report from the Office for National Statistics. The study saw 14% of UK companies say they have “low or no confidence” that they will survive the next three months. While 40% had moderate confidence that their business would survive the next three months, another 40% had high confidence of making it through the period. Pessimism was most apparent among hotels and restaurants where 34% of businesses said they would struggle to make it through the next 12 weeks. It was also found that across all industries, 7% of businesses expect to temporarily or permanently close a site in the next fortnight.

The Guardian City AM BBC News Sky News

Peacocks and Jaeger collapse

Retailers Peacocks and Jaeger have fallen into administration, with owner Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group (EWM) failing to find a buyer for the fashion chains. While no redundancies have been announced and no stores have closed, the collapse puts more than 4,700 jobs and almost 500 shops at risk. EWM said the “continuing deterioration” of the retail sector driven by the coronavirus pandemic has made the process of finding a buyer “longer and more complex” than it would have hoped. Tony Wright of FRP Advisory said Jaeger and Peacocks are “attractive brands”, adding that administrators are in advanced discussions with potential buyers and “working hard to secure a future for both businesses.”

The Guardian, Page: 33 The Times, Page: 37 The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 1 The Independent, Page: 51 Daily Mail, Page: 8 Daily Express, Page: 5 Daily Mirror, Page: 2 The Sun, Page; 14 BBC News

Nightclub owner asks for rent holiday

Deltic Group, the UK’s largest nightclub operator, has asked for a break from rent payments, warning that it is likely to collapse unless a sale can be agreed. Deltic put itself up for sale after extended closures during the coronavirus pandemic threatened to force it into liquidation. BDO , which is advising Deltic on the sale process, is reportedly set to select a preferred bidder in the coming days.

City AM

Cineworld mulling CVA

Cineworld is considering putting its business in Britain through a CVA as part of a wider restructuring, a move that would see the world’s second-largest cinema operator seek lower rents and possibly close some of its 127 UK screens. In addition to exploring a CVA, Cineworld is in individual discussions with landlords over possible rent cuts.

The Times, Page; 39 The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page; 3 Daily Mail, Page: 77 The Sun, Page: 49

Capital confidence hit

An index compiled by the ICAEW shows that uncertainty around Brexit and the coronavirus crisis have hit business confidence in London, with the poll of more than 3,500 senior managers showing optimism in the capital is the weakest of any region in the UK, France, Germany and Netherlands. The report said: “The EU is a particularly important market for London’s globally prominent financial and business services sectors. So, uncertainty over whether any trade deal will encompass services or whether there even is a trade deal is likely to be weighing heavily on the capital’s businesses.”

The Times, Page: 40

Cash and capital planning essential

Derek Gemmell of Anderson Anderson & Brown lauds the benefits of planning, saying discussions with businesses operating successfully show that cash management and preservation is critical. Writing in the Press and Journal, he says firms need to have a clear short and medium-term view of cash and working capital, identifying potential gaps early so that solutions can be found.

The Press and Journal, The Business, Page: 4


Public sector pay freeze planned

The Times’ Steven Swinford reports that the Chancellor is set to freeze the pay of almost 4m public-sector workers as part of plans to rebalance the books, with public finances hit heavily by the coronavirus pandemic. The Institute for Fiscal Studies think-tank said plans that would see 3.7m workers’ wages frozen would save £3.4bn. Rishi Sunak is said to be preparing to announce the pay freeze, which would exclude NHS workers, in next week’s spending review. Meanwhile, the Centre for Policy Studies think-tank has said freezing public sector pay could save the Treasury £23bn over the next three years, adding that excluding staff within the health service would mean the Treasury would instead save £15bn. It notes that adding a penny to the basic rate of income tax would raise around £16bn over the same period.

The Times, Page: 1 The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 1

UK salaries up 1.7%

Private sector employees received a better-than-forecast average salary increase in 2020, with ECA International’s Salary Trends report showing an average increase of 1.7% – beating the 1.1% that had been forecast. The report uses a measure based on the difference between the nominal salary increase (2.5%) and inflation (0.8%). The report says UK workers picking up a pay rise in 2021 are set to see a 1.3% real salary increase. Across Europe, real terms salaries climbed 1.5%, with Ukraine seeing the biggest increase at 3.6%.

City AM


Unpacking the pre-pack review

Writing in the Press and Journal, Michael Reid of Meston Reid & Co looks at a Government review of pre-pack administration and changes draft regulations propose. He highlights a mooted change that would stop an administrator from selling any of the company’s property to a person connected with that company within the first eight weeks of its appointment without obtaining either prior approval from creditors or an independent written report.

The Press and Journal, The Business, Page: 19


Wirecard’s former chief refuses to pin collapse on regulators

Markus Braun, former CEO of scandal-hit payments company Wirecard, has told an inquiry into the firm’s collapse that no blame can be levelled at regulators, while auditor EY was “apparently comprehensively deceived”.

Financial Times, Page: 4


Treasury’s Scholar: Debt could reach 105% of GDP

The Treasury’s senior civil servant, Sir Tom Scholar, says Government spending rolled out amid the coronavirus crisis could see national debt climb to 105% of GDP. Permanent Secretary Sir Tom told the Commons Public Accounts Committee that while official forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility have yet to be released, the economy is likely to see the worst annual contraction in three centuries. Noting that the Bank of England last week said it expects the economy to have contracted by 11% year-on-year in 2020, he said: “It is extremely serious.”

The I, Page: 8 Daily Mail

UK economy sees biggest contraction among G7

Data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) shows that the UK economy contracted more than that of any other G7 nation in the first nine months of the year, with GDP down 9.7% in Q3 compared to end of 2019. With many economies hit by the coronavirus pandemic, the next largest decline across G7 nations was in Canada, which saw a 4.7% contraction, with the US seeing the smallest contraction at 3.5%. Across the 36 OECD nations, GDP fell by 4.3%.

The Independent

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Here are the latest Updated Key Guides; we have reviewed all of the Key Guides for relevant developments, some have not needed amending but here are the Nine Updated Key Guides for your information and guidance.  Contact us if you need any further guidance and/or assistance.

You can access the whole series of KEY GUIDES through the downloads in the Recent News section of our website here: –

The amended Key Guides are: –

Accessing your company profits

  • An updated introduction advises that the possibility of new, environment-related taxation may be on the horizon for businesses.
  • An example regarding national insurance contribution calculations has been revised for greater clarity.
  • Information is given about the forthcoming changes to personal service company (PSC) IR35 rules for private sector businesses.
  • Updated information about the taxation of company cars, in line with the government’s environmental policies, is given.
  • A warning is also given about the need to keep abreast of Brexit developments over the coming year and its potential impacts on business planning.


Making tax digital

  • Information about the types of roll-out for different areas of tax has been made clearer.
  • MTD for VAT became compulsory in April 2019, with an agreed delay to October 2019 and early 2020 for certain types of business; the key guide has been updated to reflect this deferral, explaining its implications for public sector bodies who use the GIANT system of tax reporting.
  • Fuller details about the MTD VAT situation in general have been given.


Making the most of fringe benefits

  • An update to the introduction makes the point that the Conservative party re-election in December 2019 makes changes to the taxation of benefits in 2020/21 very unlikely.
  • The introduction also reiterates how the company car, traditionally a popular benefit, has become less tax efficient, with the introduction of the UK’s first zero-emissions street a good indicator of the future of motoring.
  • The guide explains one way to improve efficiency is for employees to contribute up to £5,000 for a new company car which may allow them to afford a car with much lower emissions.


Starting and selling a business

  • Updated introduction touches on implications of the UK general election and the consequences of an orderly or disorderly exit from the EU on the UK’s economic growth
  • Updated advice regarding tailoring business plans to take EU exit into account for 2020
  • The latest information on the expansion of the IR35 rules to the private sector set for April 2020.
  • A new mention of the proposed further discounts (to 50%) to retail business rates.
  • Update to regarding the annual 2% write-off for the construction costs of commercial property which is now set to increase to 3%.
  • New mention of an increase to employment allowance.
  • Inclusion of the government’s announcement to conduct a “review and reform” of entrepreneur’s relief.


Strategies for a high tax environment

  • Updated information from the Office for Budgetary Responsibility has been given
  • The latest situation based on the Conservative party manifesto regarding increasing the NICs threshold has been added.
  • An additional comment regarding Entrepreneurs’ relief and the potential ‘review and reform’ it may undergo has been inserted.
  • An update regarding the abandonment of the plan to cut Corporation tax to 17% has also been added.


Tax allowances for business investment

  • An update regarding the upcoming increase in structures and business allowance (SBA) from 2% to 3%
  • Up-to-date example figures used to explain how to calculate the annual investment allowance (AIA)


Taxation of property

  • An updated introduction touches on the performance of the housing market in 2019, the projected rise in house prices and the implications of Brexit following the general election result.
  • A change to the information on corporation tax which is now remaining at 19%.


Working through personal service companies

  • An updated introduction touches on the forthcoming expansion to the private sector of the IR35 rules for personal service companies (PSCs), including the government’s review of the implementation.
  • Further advice on the CEST tool which has been updated by HMRC with 30 new or updated questions, in addition to a contract review process.
  • An additional section on retaining your personal service company.


You and yours – estate planning

  • An update on the shelving of probate fee changes and delays in processing applications.
  • A comment on whether the Office of Tax Simplification proposals on inheritance tax will be integrated into the March 2020 Budget is added.


Contact Paul Southward.

Paul Southward's News Roundup

Updated KEY GUIDES now published – November 2019

Updated KEY GUIDES now published – November 2019



All the Guides have been reviewed for relevant developments and some stylistic improvements. The following Guides have specific changes as detailed. If a title is not listed, then no additional substantive changes have been made for this release. The disclaimer date on the guides has been updated to reflect the date of the review.

You can access the whole series of KEY GUIDES through the downloads in the Recent News section of our website here: –

The amended KEY Guides are: –

Investing tax efficiently

  • The three important changes for capital gains tax on residential property which take effect from 2020/21 are now included.

Making the most of fringe benefits

  • A new introduction now includes statistics on most popular benefits and how the company car, traditionally a popular benefit, has become less tax efficient.
  • The guide explains one way to improve efficiency is for employees to contribute up to £5,000 for a new company car which may allow them to afford a car with much lower emissions.
  • Additional information on other new fringe benefit options designed to improve wellbeing such as wearable tech, counselling and flexible working hours.

Pensions tax planning for higH earners

  • Additional material on tax charges issued for breaches of the lifetime allowances to doctors, NHS staff and other professionals.

Starting and selling a business

  • Revised introduction focuses on challenges regarding business costs and those of suppliers or potential suppliers or customers.
  • For freelancers the freedom of working when and where you desire must be balanced against the discipline required and lack of sickness and holiday benefits.
  • A new section explaining the low costs associated with operating online via a website also highlights the necessity of an online presence for all businesses so customers can find offline products and services.
  • The latest information on the expansion of the IR35 rules to the private sector including recent tribunal cases.
  • The current attractive rates of CGT are highlighted, which could change following an election, so those thinking of selling their business might be wise to do so sooner rather than later.

Strategies for a high tax environment

  • Information added on the shortening of tax payment timings for residential buy-to-let sales which will affect any sales made after 5 April 2020, when tax will be due within 30 days of completion.
  • The latest figures on accelerated payments collected by the government for those involved in tax avoidance schemes are published.
  • We mention the proposals by the Office of Tax Simplification to adjust tax allowance for inflation, although other benefits would be withdrawn.

Tax allowances for business investment

  • A new section highlights the pitfalls in claiming expenditure for building owners, whether on commercial or residential properties.

Taxation of property

  • Significant reworking and revision moving the focus to upcoming changes to CGT and finance costs.
  • Updated examples on finance cost restrictions and tax charge on company dividends.
  • Additional material on furnished holiday lettings.

Working through personal service companies

  • Further examination of the complicated IR35 rules includes the reform of its application to public sector engagements and the forthcoming expansion to the private sector.
  • Advice on the CEST tool, and how to remain independent of your client, and avoid being subject to IR35.

You and yours – estate planning

  • An additional section on the July 2019 Office of Tax Simplification.

If you have any queries or need further information on topics covered by our KEY GUIDES or any other matter, contact Paul Southward.

Paul Southward's News Roundup