What is changing in the tax world? Current Tax: sign up now

Crowd shot at business event
Charlotte Barbour By Charlotte Barbour, ICAS Director of Taxation

4 October 2016

Charlotte Barbour, ICAS Director of Taxation, recommends the one-day course ‘Current Tax’

Despite recent political uncertainties, and the delay in Royal Assent for this year’s Finance Bill, there remains one certainty for practitioners: the ICAS flagship course ‘Current Tax’.

What are the main tax themes for 2016?

Broadly, tax changes in this year’s Finance Bill are intended to be fiscally neutral with giveaways to individuals paid for by large businesses.  In spite of reductions in the headline rate of Corporation Tax, large companies are likely to pay more tax in future because of changes to the rules on interest deductibility and loss relief.  There are also new anti-avoidance measures although it is not clear whether these will raise as much revenue as they are predicted to do.

For businesses, there is a business tax roadmap with three broad goals for the period to 2020.  These are:

  • To continue to reduce tax rates to drive growth, including supporting small business.
  • To build on progress from the last Parliament to tackle avoidance and aggressive tax planning in order to ensure a level playing field.
  • To simplify and modernise the tax regime.

For individuals, there is an ongoing long-term move from taxing unearned income and gains to taxing earned income.  Another way of putting this is to say there are continuing moves to give incentives to save and to reduce capital gains tax on certain assets but not others.  There is also the drive to increase personal allowances which, of course, leads to mismatches with NIC thresholds; there is no sign that the mismatches will be addressed.

Many lesser taxes have been increased to compensate for the freezing of the rates of the three main taxes, for example insurance taxes and Stamp Duty Land Tax.

There are some very targeted measures such as orchestra relief or farmers averaging over five years – which may help very specific groups of taxpayers.

Alex McDougall, who is chairing the course, notes:

‘This course offers everything that is best about ICAS: an opportunity to learn from fellow CAs, a concentrated day focussing on current changes to tax law and practice that affect practitioners, and the chance to catch up with friends and colleagues.  I look forward to seeing members and their staff at Current Tax.’

‘Current Tax’ will address a number of topics including:

  • Income and capital distributions including targeted anti-avoidance rules.
  • Loans to participators.
  • A comparison of dividends, salaries and loans for SMEs.
  • Interest reliefs and corporate loss relief.
  • The Scottish rate of income, 2017 expectations, and their practical aspects.
  • An update on HMRC's new powers, the impact on tax practitioners and tax administration and HMRC's digital agenda.
  • Client notifications requirements in practice.
  • CGT changes especially to ER.
  • Trusts – including trusts receiving UK dividends from 6 April 2016.
  • Loss of Dispensations / Statutory Exemption for expenses.
  • Changes to tax and NIC treatment of Termination payments.
  • Proposals for PAYE/NIC Alignment.
  • Challenges re Personal Service Companies.

This ICAS flagship course provides a succinct summary of current changes to tax and is chaired by our distinguished member, Professor Alex McDougall, with the following speakers:

  • Bob Crawford
  • Hazel Gough
  • Elspeth Orcharton
  • John Cairns
  • Jim Gallagher

I do hope you can attend ‘Current Tax’ and further details can be found here.


  • Tax

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