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How changes in government may impact tax policies

The government is responsible for setting a country’s taxation policy. Like many countries, changes in government can introduce significant shifts in tax policies, which can have broad implications for both individuals and businesses. But how exactly does this work, and what should UK taxpayers be aware of?


3rd January 2024


The political spectrum and taxation

Historically, left-leaning governments tend to favour progressive tax systems, where the wealthy are taxed at higher rates to redistribute wealth and fund public services. Conversely, right-leaning governments generally advocate for lower taxes, particularly on businesses and higher-income individuals, arguing that lower taxes encourage business confidence and economic growth.


Immediate policy changes  

If a change in government occurs, policy changes are likely to happen in the short-term, perhaps even immediately. This might mean introducing new taxes, adjusting current tax rates, or abolishing certain taxes altogether. For instance, a government might raise Value Added Tax (VAT) rates to increase revenue or introduce environmental taxes to combat climate change. Staying informed about these changes is essential, as they can impact everything from household budgeting to business margins.


Long-term tax reforms

Beyond short-term changes, a new government might seek to implement broader tax reforms over time. This could mean simplifying tax codes, introducing digital taxation methods — or even overhauling the entire tax system (though this is less likely). Such reforms can have lasting impacts, which may not alter until the following change in government.


Tax reliefs and incentives

Governments often use tax relief schemes and other incentives to encourage specific behaviours from businesses and the wider public. For instance, to promote entrepreneurship, a government might offer tax breaks for start-ups. Similarly, to push for lower emissions, there might be tax incentives for individuals to buy electric vehicles and additional taxes placed on cars with higher emissions.


Impact on international relations

Taxation is not just a domestic affair. Changes in government can lead to shifts in how the UK negotiates tax treaties with other nations. This can impact multinational corporations' operations, influencing where they invest or set up their businesses.


Impact on wealth planning

The influence of tax changes can be widespread, impacting inflation, employment rates, foreign exchange rates, and overall economic growth.

For UK residents and businesses, staying informed is crucial to effective wealth planning. Knowing what tax changes could be heading your way is the best way to make informed decisions regarding your financial future. Regularly consulting with a finance professional, can help navigate the ever-evolving landscape of UK politics and taxation.


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This communication should be considered a marketing communication. It has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research. It is for information purposes only and does not constitute advice, a solicitation, recommendation or an offer to buy or sell any security or other investment or banking product or service. You should seek professional advice before making any investment decision. The value of investments, and the income from them can fall as well as rise, and may be affected by exchange rate fluctuations. Investors could get back less than they invest. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results. The tax treatment of investments depends upon individual circumstances and may be subject to change.

The contents of this communication are based on opinions or conditions as at the date of writing and may change without notice. To the extent permitted by law or regulation, no warranty of accuracy or completeness of this information is given and no liability is accepted for its use or reliance on it.