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Give us a clue, Darling

Dec 27, 2007, 14:52 PM
Authors : Daniel
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Post date : Dec 27, 2007, 14:52 PM
My family and I nipped out for lunchtime drinkies in a delightful Peak District pub on Boxing Day. The conversation turned inevitably to house prices (my wife and I bought a flat a few months ago).
My dad then voiced his concerns about how badly he might be stung if he were to sell the one property he owns. His worry, you see, was over the planned capital gains tax changes and the abolition of taper relief. He'd flog his flat, which he's been renting out for years, and then have to pay 18% CGT, he feared.
However, he didn't seem entirely au fait with the proposed changes - and neither was I, despite being Taxation's web editor.
My lack of certainty that afternoon was for a few reasons: my lack of tax training (I'm a journalist, not an accountant), the short time I've been at the mag (only a few months), and the cool, creamy Guinness (it's so very hard to resist).
But - hey! - I'm not wholly ignorant of tax matters, and I'm learning more with every passing day. Plus, I'd only had a couple of pints.
The greater reason both father and son were unsure was, I feel, the lack of solid detail from the Treasury. It's a complaint that's been voiced over and over again throughout the country since October's Pre-Budget Speech.
What will happen come the Budget next spring?
It's a worry for everyone when experienced tax professionals are feeling left in the dark.
And it's a personal worry that my ol' man, who's close to retirement, is worrying about levies that practically came out of the blue.
The matter of the family business has been barely addressed by the Chancellor. The private property owner even less so.
Mr Darling is still 'considering consultations' - but he'd be just as well either revealing his plans right now. Better still, he should leave those CGT changes for another year or two, so that the pros and people like my dad can get a good grip of them.
Of that I am sure.

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