HMRC has entered into a new phase as it moves out of its – nearly year-long – testing period for its ‘Making Tax Digital’ Income Tax pilot. Essentially, anyone who is self-employed can now enter the pilot (HMRC Tax).

Those who choose to join will be able to start filing quarterly updates of their trading income and expenditure figures through the system. It is expected that unincorporated landlords will also be able to follow in the pilot shortly. Given that there are only two Income Tax update filing solutions available at the moment – and mandation has meant the focus is on VAT – it is unlikely that there will be a rush for the self-employed to on-board for Income Tax purposes. However, experts expect that if the VAT MTD pilot is successful then self-employed businesses will gradually join the Income Tax pilot (HMRC Tax).

The downturn – a question of when not if?

As long as growth continues into the second half of the year – which is highly likely – we’ll be entering the tenth year of economic recovery. The question on everyone’s lips (and fear in their hearts) is when will the real downturn start in earnest – when, not if. Britain’s factories suffered an unexpected drop in output during February, marking the first fall for nearly a year and fuelling fears of a slowdown in the wider economy. Now the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said that manufacturing output dropped 0.2% month on month in February, while a downward revision to previous data showed it also stagnated in January. Official figures also revealed another sharp drop in the construction sector, marking the largest annual fall since March 2013. These worrying figures fuelled suspicion that GDP growth likely slowed to 0.3% quarter-on-quarter in the first quarter and that the downturn is around the corner.

Tackling inequality of wealth – IHT in the line of site?

Leading think-tank OECD has suggested Governments use the tax system to tackle wealth (rather than income) inequality and inheritance tax is the preferred route. The argument follows that wealth inequality is much more serious and much more important in many ways than income inequality, because wealth inequality generates more income inequality, and rich people have more power and influence and opportunities. One of the facts it points out in the report is that someone working for, say, twenty thousand euros a year and getting their money from capital is a much more powerful position than somebody having to work for twenty thousand dollars a year. Getting income without doing anything at all is easy, and yet it also gives you much more power. So wealth accumulation reinforces the situation. Wealth begets wealth, says the report. And that gets more power. Hence the call to action.

Financial Advice Including Pension Advice, Bristol

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