Weekly tax brief | 27 July 2021

The cost of a social care levy on the over-40s 
Rob Harris and Chris Etherington
Speculation that the PM and the Chancellor are close to an agreement to raise National Insurance contributions to fund social care costs has provoked criticism from across the political spectrum. On one hand, they have faced accusations of breaking manifesto commitments and on the other, that the proposals do not go far enough. Is there a better way? We calculate the cost of a dedicated social care levy on those over 40 years old and consider whether this would solve the PM and Chancellor’s fiscal and political headaches in establishing a free social care system. 

Could your long-standing EU-based VAT strategy be overturned by the UK courts?
Sarah Halsted
The UK Court of Appeal is about to get its first chance to decide whether to ignore a pre-Brexit VAT precedent from the European Court. The outcome will give businesses a reality check on how vulnerable their EU law-based VAT position might be to an HMRC challenge. 

A Brave New World: will HMRC soon do your tax return for you?
Sarah Saunders
The Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) examines the future of tax: direct data feeds from banks and brokers to taxpayers’ tax accounts. We look at the plans and possible problems.

HMRC has confirmed the normal minimum pension age will rise from 6 April 2028
Jackie Hall
In response to the consultation increasing the normal minimum pension age which concluded in February 2021, HMRC has confirmed that the changes proposed as long ago as 2014 will now go ahead.

Family investment companies survive HMRC’s firing line 
Chris Etherington
Revelations emerged last year that in April 2019 HMRC had established a secret unit to review how family investment companies were being used by wealthy individuals. In particular, the unit examined how these companies could be used to minimise someone’s exposure to inheritance tax. The findings of that HMRC team have now been revealed, and they make for surprising reading.