Weekly tax brief | 5 February 2020

Is George Osborne’s tax legacy unravelling?
George Bull
Against a background of suggestions that the era of the traditionally powerful UK Chancellor of the Exchequer is over, we’ve been looking at George Osborne’s tax legacy. Is it really falling to pieces as some would have us believe?

Scrapping entrepreneurs' relief: a series of unfortunate events 
Chris Etherington
The Conservative manifesto promised a ‘review and reform’ of Entrepreneurs’ Relief and, from recent reports, the Chancellor, Sajid Javid, and the Treasury have changes planned for the March 11th Budget.  Rather than widely consulting with others on how to best incentivise entrepreneurial behaviour, it appears the Chancellor plans to navigate the waters, well known for Budget U-turns, by himself.  What could possibly go wrong?

It feels as though the new road tax on motorhomes has been driven by too much Top Gear
Sheena McGuinness 
The Government is proposing a 700 per cent increase in road tax for motorhomes, but there is little to back it up from a tax or environmental perspective and it would leave a damaged manufacturing industry behind. 

Winter sports business wins uphill struggle against the VAT man
Sarah Halsted
An indoor ski slope operator has successfully challenged HMRC that its ski lift passes are an optional charge for customers, and so are eligible for the reduced VAT rate at 5 per cent.

National Insurance Contribution rates and thresholds for 2020-21 announced 
Susan Ball

And finally, the National Insurance Contribution (NIC) rates and thresholds for 2020-21 were announced at the end of last week after intense lobbying by employers, advisers and the payroll industry. This needed to happen so payroll software could be updated and ready for the 6th April and people can be paid.

Not since the late 1980’s have we had to change rates mid-tax year. 31 million people will benefit from the change as the NIC thresholds rise to £9,500 per year, representing an increase of more than 10%, with a typical employee paying around £104 less in 2020-21. However, as the primary and secondary thresholds for class 1 NIC had been aligned since 2017, this marks an unwelcome increase in complexity as the two NIC thresholds split apart again.

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