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This week’s opinion

15 December 2015 / Andrew Hubbard
Issue: 4531 / Categories: Comment & Analysis

Significance of specifying the nil rate.

Of all of the countless thousands of words in the draft Finance Bill and associated documents the six which intrigued me most were these: “The savings nil rate is 0%.”

These are found in clause 1(3)(b) of the draft legislation bringing into effect the £5 000 dividend “exemption”. As we now know it is not an exemption at all but an amount which has to be brought into the tax computation albeit charged at 0%. The significance of this is that there may be knock-on effects elsewhere particularly at the boundaries between rates.

What interested me was the fact that the draftsman felt it necessary to define the nil rate as being 0%. Is this just belt and braces or is it in fact designed to give the chancellor the opportunity to change policy without needing to rewrite the whole of the legislation? You...

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