Organising a coalition agreement is never easy. There has to be give and take on both sides. However, the Conservatives have made a big mistake in accepting some aspects of Lib Dem tax policy – especially in the area of Capital Gains Tax (CGT). The tax is seriously misconceived and raises little revenue. It can, however, do much economic harm.
It is likely that there will be exemptions for so-called business assets and for business activities that the government regards as entrepreneurial. But these distinctions are arbitrary. If I had invested in Microsoft shares when it was a small fledgling company, why should that investment be treated differently from the investments of an owner-entrepreneur? Like Inheritance Tax, CGT will create an industry of avoidance techniques and spurious business capital structures that are simply designed to avoid the tax. Nice work for tax lawyers.
But the really pernicious aspect of CGT is that it is generally a double tax…
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