In general, the 2016 Autumn
Statement (the "Statement") brought no significant
'surprise' announcements for private clients; indeed on the
inheritance tax front the Statement was particularly quiet. Perhaps
the biggest revelation was that this was Phillip Hammond's
first and last Autumn Statement.
The new Chancellor, Mr Hammond
plans to reverse the Autumn Statement and the Spring Budget, which
means that in future the tax budget will be announced in the autumn
– well in advance of the start of the new tax year. This
proposal is broadly regarded as welcome news and is in line with
the advice of many professional bodies including the IMF.
Importantly, it will allow for greater Parliamentary and external
scrutiny of budget measures ahead of their implementation.
Consequently, next year's Spring Budget will be the last and
from spring 2018 it will be replaced by a pared down Spring
Statement which is intended to respond to the Office for Budget
Responsibility's Spring Forecast and will not generally deal
with tax changes.
Phillip Hammond confirmed the
introduction of significant reforms to the tax regime of
individuals who are non-UK domiciled ("non-doms"), as
previously announced by his predecessor, George Osborne. Despite
some speculation that the reforms might be delayed, the Statement
reiterated that these changes will take effect from April 2017.
However whilst the Statement reaffirmed these measures it was not
forthcoming on the detail of how these changes will work in
practice therefore we will need to await the imminent publication
of the Finance Bill 2017 for further clarification.
Broadly, the key changes to
taxation of non-doms are twofold: first, from the tax year
2017/2018 non-doms will be treated as deemed UK domiciled for tax
purposes once they have been resident in the UK for 15 of the past
20 tax years, bringing forward the onset of deemed-domicile status
by a year. Secondly, UK residential properties held indirectly
through an overseas structure, such as a company or trust, shall be
subject to IHT where the beneficial owners of these structures are
non-doms. More detail and commentary on these reforms can be found
Potentially more positive news for
non-doms concerns the announcement that the rules governing
Business Investment Relief shall be widened to encourage non-doms
to bring money into the UK to invest in UK businesses. The
Statement did not expand on how the relief will be widened but it
is intended that the measures shall take effect from April 2017.
The present rules enable UK resident non-doms (taxed on the
remittance basis) to remit non-UK income or gains into the UK
without negative tax implications where these funds are invested in
UK trading limited companies.
Finally the Statement announced
that, in relation to inheritance tax, the Finance Bill 2017 will
extend the relief for donations to political parties to parties
with representatives in the devolved legislatures, as well as
parties that have acquired representative through by-elections.
This is designed to ensure that all national parties with elected
representatives are treated equally under the inheritance tax
In conclusion, although a lot of
the substance of the Statement is not new, it is a reminder that
many of the changes are complex and their impact potentially
significant, so with the 6 April 2017 fast approaching you should
take advice as soon as possible if you think these changes may
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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