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Inheritance tax changes to UK residential properties leave taxpayers in ‘limbo’

The government’s decision to drop significant proposals to non-domicile rules and inheritance tax changes to UK residential properties from the Finance Bill 2017 at the eleventh hour leaves many taxpayers in limbo, according to accounting, tax and advisory practice Blick Rothenberg.

Ahead of the upcoming ‘snap’ general election, the government rushed through the Finance Bill 2017 in the House of Commons yesterday, allowing for just four hours of debate.

To pass the Finance Bill 2017 in the limited timeframe, the government has dropped several major proposals at the last minute.

Nimesh Shah, partner at Blick Rothenberg, said: “It is unbelievable that such important provisions have been dropped at the eleventh hour, after the painful amount of work that has gone into the process to finalise the legislation.

“It is even more disappointing for those non-domiciled individuals who were readying themselves for the changes and arranging their affairs in the run-up to the end of the [5 April 2017] tax year.”

Shah believes that the government should be taking their time with such important tax legislation and insists that it would have made sense to "leave this until after the election".

She added: “To rush it through in this slapdash way before the election is unsettling for taxpayers.”

It is expected that a second Finance Bill will be published after the election and the majority of the dropped changes will be re-introduced and backdated to have effect from 6 April 2017.

Shah continued: “Non-domiciled individuals will now face a period of limbo, waiting for the outcome of the election and publication of the second Finance Bill. This will be the second time in three years that we will have two Finance Acts in a year, adding to yet more tax legislation.

“Moves like this create unstable and complex tax policy, and the government needs to put politics to one side in the interest of certainty for taxpayers.”

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