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Taxing changes ahead for GPs

Liz Willis considers how the chancellor's emergency Budget on 22 June could affect GPs' finances.

Mr Osborne: budget imminent
Mr Osborne: budget imminent

Although it is only possible to speculate at this stage what chancellor George Osborne's emergency Budget on 22 June will hold for GPs, there are a few areas where you could consider taking action.

Capital gains tax
Will capital gains tax (CGT) be put up from the current 18 per cent rate to 40 per cent or more? It is very likely that there will be an increase for all 'non-business' assets, including second homes and some types of savings and investments.

The expectation though is that business assets will be unaffected - a relief to GPs who own their surgery premises.

A CGT increase may not be immediate and so there may be time for people to sell assets, such as buy-to-let properties where owners are sitting on large capital gains.

Inheritance tax
The Tories' pre-election proposal to raise the inheritance tax (IHT) nil rate band - the amount you can pass on before IHT applies - has been deferred. But with the nil rate band currently frozen at £325,000, estate planning to mitigate IHT should still be high on many GPs' agendas.

Pensions
The changes made to tax relief on pension contributions for people with a total annual income of £130,000 or more will not be changed, it is believed.

In 2009, the Labour government proposed a 20 per cent tax on all pension contributions for those earning more than £180,000 a year. Whether or not this will be implemented remains to be seen. However, bringing forward pension planning and decisions on how to fund your retirement could be an astute move.

Income tax
We cannot rule out possible increases in income tax rates. All individuals, especially higher rate taxpayers, should look at alternative options for income tax planning, such as the basic reorganisation of investments.

This could mean transferring investments between husband and wife if one spouse is not liable for tax at all - or at only the basic rate - and the other spouse is a higher rate taxpayer, and investing the maximum in schemes with tax breaks such as individual savings accounts.

Other possible changes

  • Personal allowance increase to £10,000 - may still be phased out for higher earners.
  • Child tax credits and child trust funds to be scaled back for families on above-average incomes.
  • Possible VAT increase.

Liz Willis is a financial adviser and partner at the medical division, St James's Place Partnership, liz.willis@sjpp.co.uk

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