Conclusion and Future Outlook on UK Tax Policy Post-Labour Victory

8 July 2024

The Labour Party’s victory in the recent UK elections is set to usher in significant changes in tax policy, impacting both corporate entities and high-net-worth individuals. Our analysis aligns with recent articles, confirming key points and anticipating potential adjustments. Here’s a comparative overview and future outlook based on current sources:


Corporate Tax Implications

  • Corporate Tax Rate Stability

Labour has committed to maintaining the corporate tax rate at 25%, providing stability for businesses and aiding in long-term investment planning. Labour has not explicitly stated they will increase the corporate tax rate beyond the current 25%, but their historical stance has been to ensure large corporations contribute fairly to public revenues. While a further increase may not be on the agenda, businesses should remain vigilant while ensuring compliance, and exploring transparent and sustainable tax practices will be key to managing potential changes.

  • Enhanced Compliance and Anti-Avoidance Measures

Labour’s manifesto and public statements frequently emphasize the need to combat tax avoidance and evasion. The focus on tightening compliance and closing loopholes is likely to result in stricter regulations. Corporations should enhance their internal compliance mechanisms to mitigate risks associated with increased scrutiny.

  • Review of Tax Reliefs and Incentives

Labour has proposed reviewing existing tax reliefs, such as R&D credits and capital allowances, to ensure they align with broader social and economic goals. Changes to these incentives could impact companies that rely on them for innovation and growth. Businesses should monitor policy developments and adapt their investment strategies to maintain tax efficiency.

  • Focus on Environmental and Social Responsibility

Labour’s policy platform includes strong commitments to environmental sustainability and corporate social responsibility. Enhanced incentives for sustainable practices and CSR initiatives are expected. Companies investing in green technologies and socially responsible projects can benefit from potential tax breaks, aligning their business strategies with government priorities.

High-Net-Worth Individuals

  • Higher Income Tax Rates for Top Earners

Labour’s plans to increase income tax rates for higher earners are consistent with their goal of addressing income inequality and funding public services. HNWIs should explore tax-efficient investment options and income structuring to manage higher tax rates.

  • Capital Gains Tax (CGT) Reform

Labour’s potential alignment of CGT with income tax rates remains a key area of focus, impacting investment strategies for HNWIs. HNWIs need to review their investment portfolios and consider the timing of asset disposals to optimise tax outcomes under the new regime.

  • Estate and Inheritance Tax Changes

Expected reforms in inheritance tax could increase contributions from wealthier estates, necessitating effective estate planning. Effective estate planning will be essential to manage potential increases in inheritance tax liabilities.

  • Non-Domiciled Status

Labour has expressed intentions to reform the tax treatment of non-domiciled individuals to ensure they pay taxes more in line with residents. Changes in this area are aimed at ensuring non-doms contribute fairly to the UK tax system. Non-domiciled individuals should reassess their residency status and global asset structures to mitigate potential tax increases and compliance issues.


Brexit-Related Tax Impacts

  • Trade and Regulatory Alignment:

Labour seeks to negotiate specific agreements to ease trade frictions while avoiding re-entry into the EU single market or customs union.

  • Economic Growth and Trade Relations

Closer trade relations with the EU are anticipated to alleviate Brexit-related economic pressures, benefiting businesses.


International Tax Implications

  • Global Tax Compliance and Reporting:

Labour’s enhanced focus on tax compliance may extend to international operations of UK-based companies. There could be increased scrutiny on transfer pricing and adherence to OECD guidelines to prevent profit shifting and tax base erosion. Labour’s historical emphasis on fair taxation and global tax fairness aligns with these expectations. Companies with international operations should ensure robust compliance with global tax standards.

  • Impact on Multinationals:

Potential changes in the UK’s approach to international tax could affect multinationals operating within the UK. Adjustments in controlled foreign company (CFC) rules and foreign tax credits are possible areas of reform. Labour’s policy positions indicate a drive to ensure multinational corporations contribute fairly, which may lead to stricter Controlled Foreign Companies (CFC) rules and limitations on the use of foreign tax credits .

  • Double Taxation Treaties and Cross-Border Transactions:

Labour may seek to renegotiate double taxation treaties to prevent tax avoidance and ensure fair taxation of cross-border transactions. This could impact the tax liabilities of UK companies operating abroad and foreign companies operating in the UK. The focus on closing tax loopholes and ensuring equitable taxation may drive changes in treaty policies.


Future Outlook: Autumn Budget 

The upcoming Autumn Budget is expected to be highly anticipated, with detailed tax policy announcements that will further shape the economic landscape. Both corporate entities and HNWIs should closely monitor any announcements leading up to the budget statement to stay informed and adapt their strategies accordingly.

By staying proactive and engaging in strategic planning, businesses and individuals can navigate these changes effectively. Spencer West is dedicated to providing ongoing guidance and support to help you adapt and thrive in this evolving tax environment.

Mark Tan
Partner - Tax, Corporate