A reduction in capital gains tax (CGT)! Who’d have thought it?
By announcing an extension of the CGT entrepreneur relief, from £1m to £2m, the chancellor has not just cut the tax bills of business owners looking to sell up and retire – he has also allowed investors with a stake of 5 per cent of more in a company to enjoy a lower rate on their profits.
Damien Crossley, corporate tax partner at Macfarlanes, the City law firm said:
“The extension of entrepreneur relief from £1m to £2m is good news for owner managers of businesses who will now pay the lower 10 per cent capital gains tax rate on up to £2m of gains over their lifetime.”
Frank Nash, Blick Rothenberg, saw it as compensation for losing so much pension tax relief:
“The doubling of the capital gains tax entrepreneurs’ relief limit to £2 million will be a welcome move for retiring business owners particularly as the Chancellor has hit their pension funds so harshly with recent tax changes.”
But don’t be fooled. Capital gains tax will inevitably be raised for everyone before long – probably after the election. In an ironic inversion of New Labour’s 1997 election slogan, Louise Somerset of RBC Wealth management warned:
Wealthy taxpayers are unlikely to look at this Budget as being as bad as it gets, and I expect clients wanting to… lock in current tax rates before things possibly get worse.”
She, and others, point out that the difference between income tax rates of up to 50 per cent and CGT at 18 per cent is now so significant that many people will be putting a great deal of energy into ensuring they realise capital gains rather than income. No government is likely to allow that to happen for too long.
Steve Folkard, AXA Life’s head of pensions and savings policy, said: “It surely hasn’t escaped the chancellor that this is a massive difference, but closing the gap will not be a quick measure as it would be entirely unfair to make a change effective prior to the next tax year.”
A new chancellor may be less concerned about fairness.