Why trying to predict the tax landscape is unusually hard right now

Tim Sarson, head of tax policy at KPMG UK, unpacks the recent low-tax rhetoric from Chancellor Rishi Sunak, and outlines what relief businesses can expect from the Autumn Budget.

by Tim Sarson

During a tumultuous few days for the Government recently, one could have been forgiven for wondering who might be left at the Cabinet table the following morning, let alone by the time we have the Autumn Budget. But, it seems that the Prime Minister has now ‘drawn a line’ under the no-confidence vote and the Chancellor, for his part, has made it very clear he intends to remain in post.

In a piece penned for The Daily Telegraph recently, Mr Sunak again pledged tax cuts in the Budget – something that he has reiterated several times in recent months, no doubt in a bid to reclaim some of the ground he has lost in the opinion polls recently. Despite this rhetoric, there has been little detail on what that tax relief might look like, making life all the more difficult for those of us trying to predict the tax landscape.

This is not solely the fault of Mr Sunak. A cost-of-living crisis and a war in Europe, hot off the heels of a global pandemic, have put the UK government on a perpetually reactive footing – sometimes necessarily. Consequently, there are few clues available on the Chancellor’s long-term masterplan for tax, meaning Sherlock Holmes-esque powers of deduction are required to decipher them. 

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