As you may know, we used to produce a monthly paper newsletter, and this lasted about 12 years. We had a short break and then came back online last January, but this time it is weekly. As we are now a year old, I thought that I would look back at that first article which was about Couplepreneurs, couples who choose to work together, and frequently quite successfully. You could call it trading between the spreadsheets. For some, it is a cosy environment, but it also has its risks so is perhaps not for the faint hearted. It seems to work for us.
We are accountants, which in a small business environment means that we spend a significant amount of time thinking about and working on tax and at this time of year that feels all consuming. But February is coming, and we will get back to a more normal mix of accounts, tax, and business advice.
Tax always appealed to me. It is constantly changing. Sometimes you wish that it did not change quite so much or so often, but it does keep you on your toes. It would be very easy to get left behind. I remember pouring over textbooks for my tax exams trying to get my head around the complexities of Development Land Tax and the interaction of DLT with Capital Transfer Tax, which then became Inheritance Tax.
This all means that every year we must unlearn something more. Mind you, it does not pay to forget it entirely, as pieces of tax legislation are frequently recycled. Take for example the new Business Asset Disposal Relief for Capital Gains Tax. It is the new name for the slightly modified Entrepreneurs Relief. You may recall that this was introduced in a hurry after Taper Relief was abolished overnight and there was a huge outcry from the business community. In order to get something on the books quickly, what did they do? They took the old Retirement Relief legislation, dusted it off and gave it a new name.
Now it could be said that Retirement Relief worked pretty well but how many hours of discussion and what resources were expended to end up with the same rules, more or less, that existed all those years ago. Does tax evolve? Clearly it does but sometimes not quite in the way that politicians choose to paint it.
But I suppose we are all getting used to getting the government’s spin on recent events. When is a party not a party? It will be interesting to look back in a few months time when all the facts are known, to see just exactly what did happen and what effect it has on voting trends. I heard the Prime Minister described by his former boss as a fantasist. Others have used stronger terms. This was the darling of the UK voters but has his halo become tarnished. It is interesting to speculate what effect that would have had on the Brexit vote if that was held now. Probably best not to go there.
The change in our relationship with the EU is another area where we are having to unlearn. Agreed there were some seemingly daft rules but we are having to unlearn all those things that gave us frictionless trade with the EU. Looking back, they were complex and seemingly cumbersome, but nothing compared to what we now must go through to trade with the EU. Time will tell how far our economy will fall and when it will recover either because we have something sorted out with the EU or we have conquered new markets elsewhere in the world. You will no doubt have your own view on that.
But we are where we are. We must continue to learn and develop and hopefully prosper but we probably cannot avoid looking back nostalgically at all those laws, regulations and relationships that we had grown to love so much but are now just history.
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Alan E Long
The Long Partnership