Weekly tax brief | 22 December 2020

‘Tis the season to be gifting into trusts 
Chris Etherington
While the focus may be on the pile of presents under the tree on Christmas Day, it could be wise for those sitting on large capital gains to consider making further gifts this holiday season.  With just over two months until the Chancellor’s Budget announcement and rumours of wealth taxes and Capital Gains Tax (‘CGT’) increases, now is the perfect time to make a gift into trust and crystallise the current low CGT rates. 

What does the logjam in the Channel tell us about a food carbon tax?
George Bull
The Government may find it more difficult than expected to deploy a food carbon tax to help meet its climate change obligations in respect of food while simultaneously honouring new terms of trade with our trading partners. An obvious solution is for the UK to produce more of the food we consume. That could offer a huge boost to UK food producers both large and small.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS): Are underclaims just as fatal to grant claims as overclaims?
Susan Ball & Carolyn Brown
It was confirmed last week that as of November, £382 million of Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) grants have been recorded as returned by businesses. We also heard that around £12m of CJRS claims were rejected by HMRC with a further 140,000 submissions requiring review prior to approval for payment. 

Is more data for HMRC more of a problem?
Gary Heynes
Despite its existing access to data and the huge computing power of Connect, HMRC plans to gather even more financial information. The taxman has made a strong case for this, but more is not necessarily better. Innocent taxpayers can already find themselves caught up in long-running, expensive enquiries only to find that information HMRC has received is either incorrect or has been misinterpreted. Until this is overcome, there will be scepticism over giving HMRC access to even more data without any oversight.

Help people handle their own tax affairs
Sarah Saunders
The Low Income Tax Reform Group has issued a report examining ways HMRC administration and tax legislation could be improved to help those on low incomes, with many of the points raised applicable to everyone.