Christmas Cheer

Capital Gains Tax changes driving activity in Q1 2008

Much has been written about the impending change to the tax regime with Capital Gains Tax rising on share sales from 10% (assuming full taper relief) to 18% in the new tax year.   It seems odd that entrepreneurs who have sweated for years to build a successful business lose out, while short term buy-to-let property investors gain big time.   But whatever you think about the merits - or more likely demerits of the change it is certainly focusing peoples minds.  If you had not already begun to sell your business it is unlikely you can sell before 31 March- normally this takes between 3 and 9 months.   However a succession deal, or partial MBO can be put in place - and we are working on a number of such transactions.   The clock is ticking however - mostly these will involve tax clearances and with the revenue allowed up to 28 days to deliberate they must therefore be away by the beginning of March.  Actually we're getting clearances back in a matter of days at the moment - but I imagine that they will be awash with them in March and so 28 days must be allowed for.   Such clearances cannot be produced without reasonably final documentation - so expect the corporate lawyers to be busy in February! 

But lets not lose sight of the underlying commercial reality amidst all the tax excitement.  If there are things you can do to make your business perform better, or present it better to a potential buyer, or to get competition amongst buyers - doing those things should yield much much more than the extra tax charge post April 2008.   


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