To err is human…

But forgiveness is not the HMRC way. Taxpayers are expected to get their tax returns right first time, and to diligently preserve all records relevant to their tax affairs for at least six years. However, HMRC has been shown to make systematic mistakes in tax computations, to provide incomplete information to taxpayers, and to have a lower standard of record retention than the courts would normally expect.

Examples of all these HMRC short comings are included in this newsletter. If you feel you have been treated unfairly by the tax system, you can usually appeal against the penalty or HMRC’s decision. Appeals have to be submitted within 30 calendar days of the date HMRC made the decision or issued the penalty notice. However, the tax tribunals are sometimes sympathetic to taxpayers who submit a late appeal, so don’t give up even if you have apparently run out of time.

The tax rules are constantly changing, and this normally means there is more tax to pay. There are big changes for Capital Gains Tax coming in for homeowners who sell from 6 April 2020, as we explain below. You may wish to sell before that date to take advantage of existing tax reliefs.

Company car drivers, on the other hand, will be delighted if they drive an electric or hybrid vehicle, as the taxable benefit for very low emissions vehicles is reducing significantly from 6 April 2020. In that case it may be better to wait until April 2020 to take up the offer of a new company car.

The next Budget is likely to be presented by a different Chancellor of the Exchequer, as the new Prime Minister will choose their own right-hand man, or woman, for that post. The new individual in charge of the nation’s coffers is likely to have some radical ideas about tax rates and reliefs. Hold on tight, it’s going to be a bumpy ride!