‘798 years on hold’: navigating HMRC’s customer service issues

The National Audit Office (NAO) has published a report on HMRC customer service which isn’t a happy story. Source: HMRC historic data, Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) estimates A common tactic for grabbing a headline, be it a politician or organisation, is to take a relatively modest number and then multiply it by the large […]

How to raise tax revenue without raising tax rates

As we count down to the general election in July, be wary of those manifesto promises not to raise tax rates. The Conservatives and the Labour party are going into the next election with the same key fiscal rule. This states that in five years’ time, total government debt (currently about £2,700 billion) should be […]

Inflation’s stubborn cumulative effect

April’s yearly inflation figure fell from 0.9% to 2.3%, so why does inflation still feel high?   Source: Office for National Statistics (ONS) April’s Consumer Prices Index (CPI) showed annual inflation had fallen to 2.3%, its lowest level since July 2021 and significantly below the October 2022 peak of 11.1%. The Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, […]

Not in the NIC of time

A useful new web tool has emerged, a little late in the game, in a joint effort from two government departments.   In early 2023, HMRC and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) found they were unable to cope with the volume generated by a 5 April cut-off date that had been set a […]

Dow Jones breaks through 40,000

In mid-May 2024, the Dow Jones Index crossed the 40,000 threshold for the first time.   Source: Investing.com You might have noted headlines in May that the Dow Jones Index of US shares had broken through the 40,000 mark for the first time. It may have sounded like a significant landmark, but for professional investors, […]

The first election tax stories

It’s early days yet, but some pointers on tax have emerged from both the main parties. Within one week of the surprise firing of the general election starting gun, both the Conservatives and Labour have been promoting their tax plans. We can expect more to emerge in the coming weeks and in the manifestos, which […]

Au-tonomy: a shiny investment or tarnished goods?

Gold is having its day in the sun, but for how long? Source: Investing.com Long before Bitcoin was even a twinkle in the eye of its alleged inventor, Satoshi Nakamoto, there was gold. If you did not trust rulers, institutions or paper money, gold was what you owned to protect your finances. Its value/weight ratio […]

Probate fees on the rise

The fees for obtaining probate in England and Wales have increased. The fee charged to obtain probate in England and Wales has been increased from £273 to £300 (10%) and for confirmation in Scotland, which has a sliding scale by 2%. Northern Ireland revised its probate fees in November 2023. Whether the higher fees will […]

New British Savings Bond – worth the wait?

National Savings provides a glimpse of the new bond promised in the Spring Budget. Jeremy Hunt’s Spring Budget had an emphasis on Britishness with talk of “the great British pub”, ‘the British ISA’ (now a UK ISA) and ‘Great British Nuclear’. Included on the list of Britishness was the promise of a new ‘British Savings […]

Have you overlooked a changed tax status?

With allowances frozen or cut, you may have underpaid tax for 2023/24. Your tax position may have changed for the last year without you really noticing. Consider the following: *£1,000 for basic and nil rate taxpayers, £500 for higher rate taxpayers, and nil for additional rate taxpayers. Rising income – for example in the form […]