No Mystic Meg…


1 November 2018

By Marc Dorsett

The Budget is over for another year and I thought I'd revisit the predictions from my last article. Did my crystal ball work or did it fail to connect to the spirit underworld? Judging from the title I think it's clear that the predictions were dreadful. The spirits of <insert deity of choice here> were not particularly kind or maybe they assumed the Chancellor wasn't as mean as they thought?

Most of the headlines in the papers on the following day did use Halloween based headlines but they seemed to be more along the lines of "treats not tricks", which to my mind is a bit boring. Suggesting they "missed a trick" seems a little obvious…

Revisiting the predictions:

  • VAT on school fees: no mention.
  • Basic rate increase on dividends: no mention, so dividend planning remains effective for those with their own companies.
  • Reduction of the dividend allowance: again, no mention. I sense a common theme…
  • Mandatory payrolling of benefits: *ahem* no mention…
  • IR35 changes to bring the private sector in line with the public sector: the changes have been delayed until April 2020 and an exemption will be put in place for "small organisations".
  • Buy-to-let CGT relief: back to "no mention". In fact the position will be worse for let properties (where it has been a main residence at some point) as the final exemption period for Principal Private Residence relief is being changed to the last 9 months, down from 18. Lettings relief is also being removed unless there was shared occupancy.

As you'll no doubt have noticed, I will not be taking up a career as a seer, so don’t ask me for next week's National Lottery numbers. Not unless you want to squander your cash.

Still, there were some interesting points in the Chancellor's Budget that maybe weren't expected (that's another article) and Mr Hammond did say that it all may change if there isn't a Brexit deal and we have to have a Spring 2019 Budget.

So, with all the well publicised in-fighting and disagreements over a Brexit deal, if there is no agreement by 29 March 2019 a new Budget will be needed. Will the Chancellor then mention the above and my new career take off? I predict not.

If you have any questions, or wish to discuss your tax affairs in general, please contact Marc Dorsett on 01245 228146 or

This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.