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192 – And after the election

There is unfinished business for the new government to deal with. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. However, when it comes to general elections, there is plenty of history to suggest that tax increases are more likely in the first Budget to occur after the polls have closed. From a politician's…

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189 – The NASDAQ hits 6000

The market most associated with US technology shares reached a new high in April. You may be old enough to remember that the end of the 20th century was marked by a surge in the value of technology shares in the United States. Many of these were traded on the NASDAQ market, which became synonymous…

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185 – Salary Sacrifice under the microscope

New rules for taxing many salary sacrifice arrangements came into force from 6 April. One of the employment trends of recent years has been to make employee remuneration more flexible. Instead of pay and, if you were lucky, a company car and healthcare, ‘cafeteria remuneration’ has become common, giving employees the choice of sacrificing pay…

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178 – HMRC – The Ultra rich and the not so rich

Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee thinks that the “government must take a tougher stance on taxing the very wealthy.” In 2009, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) set a specialist team to focus on the tax affairs of high net worth individuals (HNWIs is the jargon). At the time, HNWIs were defined as people with net assets…

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The Residence nil rate band – A real head scratcher

From April, the residence nil rate band comes into being. It was nearly two years ago that the Conservatives’ manifesto for the 2015 election promised to “take the family home out of tax by increasing the effective Inheritance Tax threshold for married couples and civil partners to £1 million.” The legislation which starts the first…

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171 – Interest rates in 2017

On 15 December, the US Federal Reserve (Fed) raised its key short term interest rate by 0.25%, to a range between 0.5% and 0.75%. It had made the same increase 12 months previously. When the Christmas 2015 rate rise occurred, the central bank was implicitly expecting to raise rates four times during 2016. However, a…

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169 – Govt U-Turn on Annuity Sales

The Treasury has changed its mind about allowing the sale of pension annuities. When pensions flexibility was announced in March 2014, one of the inevitable criticisms was that the reform came too late for those who had already turned their pension pot into an annuity. A year later the then Chancellor attempted to respond to…

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167 – Marmite Wars

Inflation rose to 1% in September, but that will not be the end of the story. Last month a spat between Tesco and Unilever over the pricing of products under a new contract saw Marmite temporarily removed from the shelves of Tesco’s internet shopping website. The two parties resolved the issue quickly once it hit…

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