UK’s Tax System Faces New Year Upheaval

· VAT up from 15 to 17.5 per cent on 1 January 2010 · Loss of personal allowance (tax free allowance) for 40% tax payers earning over £100,000 · Higher rate tax of 50 per cent for those paid £150,000 or more · A general election which means probably a spring budget followed by another after the election · ACCA wants a tax New Year Resolution – transparency, no more stealth taxes

London, United Kingdom, November 25, 2009 --( ACCA’s head of taxation Chas Roy-Chowdhury predicts that the UK’s already complex tax system faces a raft of changes in 2010.

Mr Roy-Chowdhury says: “We know from our research amongst the UK public that only 9 per cent of UK citizens are fully aware and take advantage of all the tax breaks and perks available to them and only 5.5 per cent completely understand what happens to the money that is paid in taxes.”

The situation is set to get more confusing yet. Apart from already existing higher rates on alcohol, tobacco and petrol, VAT is returning to 17.5% on the 1st January and new tax year will see brand new 50% tax rate for those earning over £150,000 a year and the loss of the tax free allowance known as the personal allowance for those earning over £100,000.

It is estimated that this 50% personal tax rate will affect some 350, 000 people in the UK who earn over £150,000.

ACCA believes that it is very likely that the VAT could go up to 18% or even 19% in the near future and the increase in capital gains tax is another very possible development.

Mr Roy-Chowdhury adds: “Business that charge VAT, which is currently at 15% will need to change their rates to 17.5% in the New Year, which will be an administrative burden for them. But bars and clubs will be exempt from the VAT hike as the midnight handover from 15% to 17.5 will be a problem for them. Where they are open at midnight they will not need to change their rate until 6.00 am on 1st January 2010.”

Mr Roy-Chowdhury concludes: “We hope there will be a New Year resolution for tax policy in 2010 – we want to see governments everywhere ensure their tax systems are truly accountable and that people understand why they are paying their taxes. We know that we still have some way to go in the UK. Legislation also needs to be clear – no more opaque tax changes, no more unexplained tax hikes. Tax regimes need to be user friendly for both business and individuals alike.”

For further information, please contact:
Helen Thompson, ACCA Newsroom
+44 (0)20 7059 5759
+44 (0)7725 498654

Andrew Swailes, ACCA Newsroom
+44 (0)20 7059 5823
+44 (0)7525 392535

Notes to Editors

ACCA is the global body for professional accountants. We aim to offer business-relevant, first-choice qualifications to people of application, ability and ambition around the world who seek a rewarding career in accountancy, finance and management. We have 362,000 students and 131,500 members in 170 countries worldwide.

ACCA has worked with governments, national organisations and development agencies in emerging economies- for over 20 years- promoting the accounting profession, to create value for the communities, businesses and individuals it serves.

ACCA believes that globalisation of business means that one set of reporting standards is essential. We favour the principles-based IFRS.

ACCA understands the real issues facing small businesses as 63,000 of our members work in SMEs or small partnerships worldwide.

Matthew Gazeley
+44 (0)20 7462 8961