The New Finance Bill

The Finance Bill 2017-2018 is a 190 page-document that contains some significant tax proposals which, if agreed, will form the Finance Act 2018.  While you may be thinking that 190 pages is an awful lot of tax information for anyone to sift through, it is, in fact, very slim compared to previous versions.

Why is it slimmer than usual?

Since Gordon Brown was Chancellor, tax professionals have become used to hefty Finance Bills arriving at least once a year. This Finance Bill was the third presented to Parliament this year. The Bills are scrutinised by MPs – who are paid for their time, and members of the professional bodies’ tax technical committees – who aren’t. These people are often volunteers, so they must be pleased that this Bill cuts to the chase.

What’s in it?

  • Clauses to set the tax rates and allowances for 2018/19.
  • A tweak to the marriage allowances to allow retrospective claims where one spouse or civil partner has died. (This has already taken effect.)
  • Stamp Duty and Land Tax changes for first-time buyers and the easing of the rules for the 3% supplement on additional homes. (These have also taken effect already; rules are different for properties in Wales and Scotland.)
  • Amended powers for HMRC to enter premises and inspect goods, and the powers to search vehicles or boats. These powers relate to the enforcement of customs duties, which will be far more significant after the UK leaves the European Union.
  • Anti-avoidance rule tweaks on the loan charge, which will come into effect in 2019, imposing tax and NIC on people who have not the repaid their “contractor loans” by 5 April 2019 or settled their tax position with HMRC. Those people will have to provide information to HMRC about the loans they have received.
  • The introduction of a ‘close company gateway’ to catch payments which are made via a ‘circular route’ through a third party, to benefit the owner/ directors of a company and avoid tax or NIC.
  • New rules relating to payments and benefits from offshore trusts, particularly where capital payments are made to non-residents.

If any of these issues seem relevant to you, or you’re not sure whether they are or not, feel free to ask us. You can call our helpful team on 020 8530 0720 or email

This article is a condensed version of one that appeared on AccountingWeb; you can read the original here.