It was billed as the largest Finance Bill in history, but in the end the 2017 Finance Act, which received Royal Assent on the 27th April, was anything but.

The announcement of the snap-Election meant that the Bill was cut down from 762 pages to a mere 148 but in the process has angered many tax advisors and confused taxpayers.

Months of consultations, examination of draft legislation and enacting of planning post 5 April 2017 have all counted for nothing as huge swathes of proposed legislation was dropped, it can be argued, on a whim of the PM.

Some of the more important areas that are now not law include the following.

  • Property and trading allowances – these two new £1,000 allowances, for example aimed at income derived from Airbnb, were due to come in from 6 April 2017, but now no longer exist.
  • Corporation tax – measured aimed at enhancing loss utilisation and substantial shareholder exemptions were also omitted from the final cut.
  • Making Tax Digital – with just about everyone, HMRC included, having invested some time and cost in publications, webinars and seminars as we enter the final 12 months to its planned introduction, this potentially has all now been wasted.
  • Non-domiciles – similarly the much trumpeted changes for non-domiciles coming in from 6 April 2017 has also disappeared.
  • Probate fees – in the same way as the Finance Bill, other legislation, such as the much criticised changes to probate fees, has also now been shelved.

Interestingly out of the 63 clauses that made it into the Finance Act around 60% related to the introduction of the Soft Drinks Industry Levy – the so called sugar tax.

So where does that leave taxpayers? Of course there is a possibility that all the above will be put forward again in the next Parliament to leave matters eventually unchanged from past proposals. However it has created a period of uncertainty for taxpayers and possibly major issues for anyone who had acted on otherwise clear intentions already indicated by the Government.

We’ll need to wait and see.

For more information, please contact Russell Eisen on 020 7600 5667

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