Weekly tax brief | 22 May 2019

Who makes gifts & does IHT really matter?
Sarah Saunders and Rachel de Souza
HMRC has recently published a study examining the behaviour of ‘gifters’ - those who have, in the past two years, made a single gift of £1,000 or more, or multiple gifts of greater than £250 totalling more than £3,000. It is hoped that the findings will help simplify the inheritance tax legislation so that it is fit for the 21st century.

Mystery benefactor sought to pay off student loans (but don't forget the tax!)
Rachel de Souza
A billionaire philanthropist in the US has this week offered to pay off the student loans of graduates at Morehouse College in the US – a pledge that's set to cost him $40m. Were a like-minded UK donor considering the same, they would be well advised to consider the tax implications in advance. 

Could tax reform save the high street?
Philip Munn and Suze McDonald
It has been hard to miss the strains that UK high street retailers have been facing. Many have called for a change in the way the retail sector is taxed, to reflect the way today’s consumers shop. The latest, and perhaps most high-profile voice calling for reform, is Tesco’s chief executive Dave Lewis. So what are the available tax policy options and how would they work?

When does the supply of fuel equate to a financial service?
John Forth and Philip Munn
A recent decision of the CJEU following a referral from the Polish tax authority analyses the VAT treatment of a charge made to manage a series of fuel card schemes. UK businesses which manage similar fuel card schemes may wish to review their arrangements as a result.