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Budget predictions – is change on the way for Capital Gains Tax?

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From being the tax changes we expected in every budget to having been largely forgotten about for the last couple of years, will there be anything new to report on Capital Gains Tax when Jeremy Hunt stands up on Wednesday?

Recent experience would suggest not.

A government with one eye on an election is unlikely to make sweeping changes to any current regime that is not a political hot topic. The headline rate of 20% seems likely to remain, given that certain transactions that tend not to be popular with the general public (e.g. disposals of second homes and certain gains made by private equity investors) are already taxed at the higher rate of 28%.

Alignment of these two rates has often been talked about, but it doesn’t feel like there is any particular momentum for that at the current time.

In terms of specific provisions, EIS (0%), Business Asset Disposal Relief (10%) and reliefs on sale of businesses to Employee Ownership Trusts (0%) remain both popular and deeply ingrained parts of the UK M&A market, so changes to these seem unlikely.

Investors relief (an equivalent to old Entrepreneurs Relief but for non employees) is significantly underused and at some point it feels this may well be taken off the statute book. If and when this happens, it will certainly not be headline grabbing!

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