The UK Autumn Budget

01.12.15

Please note that this article is over six months old. While Blevins Franks takes care to make sure that information is accurate on the date of publication, some content may change over time. You should not rely on the accuracy of legislation and tax information in this article; take professional advice for your circumstances.

Chancellor George Osborne presented his Autumn Statement, along with the Spending Review, on 25th November. It did not include many tax changes this time. This article summarises the announcements that may affect expatiates, depending on your situation.

Chancellor George Osborne presented his Autumn Statement, along with the Spending Review, on 25th November. It did not include many tax changes this time. This article summarises the announcements that may affect expatiates, depending on your situation.

Capital gains tax due date – sale of residential property

With effect from 6th April 2019, payments on account of UK capital gains tax on residential properties will be due within 30 days of the date of sale. Currently sellers have between 10 and 22 months to pay.

This affects both residents and non-residents (non-residents have been liable to capital gains tax on residential property since April 2015). However, it will not apply to properties used as a principle private residence in the UK.

Stamp Duty Land Tax

From 1st April 2016, where UK residential properties are acquired as either second homes or buy-to-let properties, stamp duty land tax will increase by 3%. This is expected to raise almost £1billion by 2021.

This only affects new purchases from that date, so you are not affected if you already own a UK property. If you are thinking of buying one, if you do not immediately use it as your main home you will probably have to pay this additional tax. You therefore need to consider the additional cost – even the cheapest properties will be subject to stamp duty land tax under this change. Alternative investments may be more cost-efficient.

It is proposed that from 6th April 2017 the tax will be due within 14 days of the transaction.

Deeds of Variation

The 2015 Summer Budget included a proposal to curtail deeds of variation, since they have been used to minimise or avoid UK inheritance tax.

Mr Osborne now announced that there will be no change to the use of deeds of variation, although they will monitor the situation to see how people use them to change their inheritance tax position.

Deeds of variation can be useful, particularly when combined with trusts for Spanish residents, and can also help with assets skipping generations for UK inheritance tax. Estate planning is a complex area, you should seek professional advice.

Tax evasion crackdown and General Anti-Abuse Rule (GAAR) penalties

HM Revenue & Customs will invest an extra £800million to fight tax evasion.

The government has committed to raise an additional £5billion a year by 2019-20 from cracking down on tax evasion, non-compliance, aggressive tax planning and imbalances in the system.

Mr Osborne outlined some measures that will be included in the 2016 Finance Bill. These include a new criminal office removing the need to prove intent for serious cases of offshore tax evasion on income and gains, and civil penalties for deliberate offshore tax evasion.

As announced in the Autumn Statement, where GAAR is successfully invoked the penalties will increase to 60% of the tax due. This should only concern those who have used abusive means of avoiding tax.

It is worth noting that the Liechtenstein, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man disclosure schemes will close early to new notifications – on 31st December 2015 instead of the original dates. This is because the new global automatic exchange of information regime under theCommon Reporting Standard starts in January 2016 (with the first information exchange in 2017). Time is running out, but for those who need to regularise their affairs taking action now can avoid more serious penalties and sanctions in future.

UK state retirement pension

From 6th April 2016, the basic UK state retirement pension will increase to £119.30 per week.

A new, single-tier system will come into place at that date, which gives an overall minimum state pension (including what would have been SERPS etc under the old system) of just over £155 per week. This will not affect existing pensioners; it only applies to those to reach state pension age on or after 6th April 2016.

Finance Act 2016

The draft legislation for the Finance Act 2016 is expected to contain information about:

  • How dividends will be taxed under the new regime.
  • How the new savings allowance will work (as all bank and building society interest will be paid gross from 6th April 2016 under the proposals).
  • Removal of wear and tear allowance on furnished rental property.
  • Deemed domicile status changes.
  • UK inheritance tax for non-UK domiciles.

This is just a summary, and more detail tends to emerge later. It is important to seek specialist advice if you are affected, particularly when it comes to the interaction between taxation in the UK and your country of residence, and the tax planning opportunities available.

Tax rates, scope and reliefs may change. Any statements concerning taxation are based upon our understanding of current taxation laws and practices which are subject to change. Tax information has been summarised; an individual is advised to seek personalised advice.

Tax rates, scope and reliefs may change. Any statements concerning taxation are based upon our understanding of current taxation laws and practices which are subject to change. Tax information has been summarised; individuals should seek personalised advice.

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