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Big property tax increases may be held back until after Budget

It’s been revealed that some far reaching changes to property taxes may not be unveiled at Wednesday’s Budget and may wait until later this month.

Although short term tax announcements will be made on Wednesday - including confirming a stamp duty holiday extension and a government guarantee for lenders offering 95 per cent mortgages - some other longer-term reforms will be held over.

Instead there is going to be a ‘tax day’ on March 23 - that’s three weeks tomorrow. On that day the government will issue consultation documents on some taxes and processes - the government has not said exactly which. 

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The Treasury says this approach “allows for more transparency and scrutiny” of documents and consultations that would traditionally be published at a Budget and will instead be published on March 23.

The Financial Times quotes tax experts predicting March 23 could be the opportunity for Capital Gains Tax change options to be unveiled.

Amanda Tickel, head of tax policy at Deloitte, tells the FT: “After the Budget we expect a second report from the Office for Tax Simplification on CGT. The eventual outcome could be increases to Capital Gains Tax by aligning rates more closely to income tax or restricting the range and value of exemptions.”

In the same FT story Melissa Geiger, head of tax policy at KPMG, says she expects to be busier on March 23 than on Wednesday’s Budget Day. And she adds: “The consultations will set the agenda for the autumn ... signalling what’s going to come.”

The Treasury says the March 23 tax day “will ensure tax professionals will have a better opportunity to feed into consultations and policy discussions, which will strengthen policy-making.” 

Financial Secretary to the Treasury Jesse Norman - who spoke on behalf of the government at the recent Parliamentary debate on stamp duty - adds: “We are making these announcements separately to the Budget, but still all on a single day, in order to give ... greater visibility among Members of Parliament, tax professionals and other stakeholders, and greater scope for scrutiny by them.”

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