Yesterday the Chancellor, George Osborne, delivered his 2012 Autumn Statement to Parliament.
In the Statement, as well as discussing the economic outlook for the country, the Chancellor often announces proposed changes to our taxation system.
Because of this, the Autumn Statement and the Budget are particularly important days for those of us who work in tax. Announcements on the day can include, amongst other things, changes in rates and allowances, new types of relief, reliefs being removed and tax “loopholes” being closed.
On 5 December 2012 the Chancellor was fairly quiet on changes in tax (although more should be revealed when draft clauses for the Finance Bill are released next week). The speech focussed more on the economic state of the country and whether we were meeting our targets to reduce the deficit and national debt (this is what we would expect as most of the tax announcements would normally take place during the Budget speech in spring).
This year, some of the changes that were announced were measures to tackle tax avoidance and evasion, an further reduction in the main rate of corporation tax in Financial Year 2014 bringing it down to 21%, an increase in the personal allowance next year to 9,440 and a reduction in the pension annual allowance to 40,000. All of these are things which will affect our day-to-day roles as tax advisors.
Applicants for roles in Accountancy firms often say that the most challenging part of an interview to prepare for is the Commercial Awareness. If you’re applying for any role in an Accountancy firm but in particular if you’re applying for a role in tax then I would definitely suggest paying attention to the Autumn Statement or Budget. In fact, I remember that my interview for my internship at Grant Thornton took place only a few days after the Budget speech in 2009 and most of my Commercial Awareness responses were based around it! Even better, in the days following there will be a wealth of articles surrounding the subject on websites such as the BBC, the Financial Times and Accountancy Age and, of course, Grant Thornton’s own website.
With that in mind, I would recommend having a look at Grant Thornton’s response to this year’s Autumn Statement (complete with videos from some of our partners!):
Or, if you’re feeling brave, you can read the full Autumn Statement document released by the Treasury here: