Weekly tax brief | 5 May 2021

Biden could inspire a UK exit tax
Chris Etherington
The Biden administration may have noted rumours about capital gains tax (CGT) changes Rishi Sunak was considering last year, as it has proposed similar plans to double the US CGT rate to 39.6 per cent. If the US President is successful in pushing through his proposals, it could motivate the Chancellor to impose similar changes in the UK. Be warned: Rishi Sunak may also take inspiration from another US policy to ensure its success - an exit tax on individuals.

Are your employee benefits still fit for purpose?
Zoe Martin
Many employers have adapted their employment benefits to recognise and combat the increasing pressure on the mental health of their employees, but the tax exemption for these benefits is limited. We call on government to include financial wellness counselling within the exemption, as this has a direct impact on the mental health of a workforce.

How does HMRC define a car park and why does it matter to an ice-cream man?
Sarah Halsted
The First-tier Tax Tribunal has supported HMRC’s extremely strict definition of land that is considered a car park for VAT purposes, potentially increasing costs for traders who hire them as a site to run their business. Price hikes for their customers are likely.

More people using flexible pension access
Rachel de Souza
New data suggest flexible pension access is gaining popularity. Although overall access remains low, it appears that people with personal pension plans rely on other savings to fund their retirement rather than their pension plan. They then use flexi-access to top up their other income.

HMRC guidance is improving; long may it continue
Sarah Saunders
HMRC guidance is key to dealing with tax for taxpayers, agents and their own staff. The Office of Tax Simplification checks whether the guidance is improving. Spoiler – it is.

HMRC's silence on residence test causes problems for Brits trapped abroad
Alex Foster
During 2020, HMRC was quick to provide some guidance regarding the impact of Coronavirus restrictions on the statutory residence test, but what about those who are still trapped abroad?