Six things I didn’t learn from the Budget

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Simon Sweetman takes a look back at Budget 2012 and outlines six things the profession didn’t learn from the Chancellor's speech and published documentation.


2.207 Personal service companies and IR35 – The Government will introduce a package of measures to tackle avoidance through the use of personal service companies and to make the IR35 legislation easier to understand for those who are genuinely in business. This will include:

  • strengthening up specialist compliance teams to tackle avoidance of employment income
  • simplifying the way IR35 is administered
  • subject to consultation, requiring office holders/controlling persons who are integral to the running of an organisation to have PAYE and NICs deducted at source by the organisation by which they are engaged. (Finance Bill 2013)

Now this has obviously been inspired by the student loans agency, etc. saga of payments to companies by government departments. What they should do is to make it clear to government departments that they cannot do this sort of thing.

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About Robert Lovell

Business and finance journalist


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    26th Mar 2012 16:17


    George Osborne have any comprehension about, what the word SIMPLIFICATION, really means!


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    26th Mar 2012 20:32

    it's a bad joke

    Before Osborne who was the last Chancellor who came to office with a massive fanfare about tax simplification?

    Step forward Gordy Brown - who went on to treble or quadruple the UK tax code depending on which measure you use.

    Osborne is on track to match this even if the rest of his budget was a total mess!



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    27th Mar 2012 09:36

    50% rate HOW CAN THEY POSSIBLY KNOW much income was accelerated into 09-10 ? Agree the argument was rubbish.

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    28th Mar 2012 01:23

    Worse still they are also

    depending on those 'honest' 1% of the highest paid to stop avoiding tax as a result of the lower tax rate.


    Even my lowly basic rate taxpaying clients don't want to pay more tax if they can help what hope those who spend £1,000s on tax specialists to reduce their tax....

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    By dwgw
    30th Mar 2012 11:54

    Lower tax rates don't end tax avoidance

    I've seen enough clients willing to undertake schemes to avoid 10% CGT to know that there is no positive rate of tax that people won't seek to avoid.

    It amuses me that a 50% rate is spoken of by some as though it were apocalyptically high when 60% was the top rate for many years only a generation ago.  And that was a welcome reduction from the still higher rates that prevailed not long before that!

    Mendacious is a precisely chosen word by Simon to describe some of these arguments.  

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    to mrme89
    30th Mar 2012 13:23

    Taxation rates and evasion

    dwgw wrote:

    I've seen enough clients willing to undertake schemes to avoid 10% CGT to know that there is no positive rate of tax that people won't seek to avoid.

    Firsly, let us all remember that avoidance is perfectly legal and legitimate, so we are really talking about evasion here.

    While this is of course true, one only has to look carefully at those eastern european states who introduced flat rate taxation of around 18% (from marginal rates not too dissimilar to that of the UK) and notice that they are reporting a much improved total tax take as a result. What one can't know is just how widespread wholesale evasion was, prior to the flat rate introduction. What is also clear is that telling people accurately and honestly where their tax money is being spent, also seems to reduce evasion. 

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    By dwgw
    30th Mar 2012 13:44

    No, I'm talking about avoidance

    I certainly wasn't suggesting there was any evasion - I was helping those clients with their tax avoidance!  My point was that, human nature sadly being what it is (greedy), I don't believe a reduction in tax rates necessarily makes people less inclined to avoid tax if they can.  The new, lower rate becomes settled and, before long (or when the tax bill is looming), many will still seek to avoid it.  That will be so for a 45% rate and would be at lower rates still.

    Arguments for flat rate tax are not entirely dissimilar to flat earth arguments for me - backwards.  I believe progressive taxation is just and equitable in a civilised society.  I'm sure a low, flat rate does raise the tax take in jurisdictions where tax evasion is widespread and the enforcement of tax collection is lax.  That doesn't make it a model for advanced western economies to follow.

    I agree wholeheartedly that we in the west are crying out for a mature debate about tax and public spending, neither of which is inherently bad as the frothier commentators on the right would have us believe.     

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