Blick Rothenberg

Non-dom reform should be postponed until full effect of Brexit is understood

20.10.2016

The government should postpone any changes to non-domicile legislation until the full effect of Brexit is understood.

The further consultation on the proposed changes to the non-domicile taxation regime closes at midnight today, with the changes taking effect from 6 April 2017.

Nimesh Shah, partner at Blick Rothenberg, said: “The non-domicile taxation regime has been a cornerstone of the UK’s tax legislation for decades and Britain’s attractiveness as an international centre. There is a compelling argument to refresh and modernise the regime, but the timing of doing this now does not seem appropriate.”

He added: “When the original proposals were announced by George Osbourne in summer 2015, immediately following the Conservatives success at the General Election, the economic, political and social outlook was far different from that today. The Government should delay the current proposals so that the policy can be adjusted once it is clear what form Brexit will take.”

The consultation process has actually been quite cumbersome, and the professional bodies were concerned that the first consultation offered too little time (6 weeks) for stakeholders to contribute with due consideration.  There was almost a year’s delay in publishing the response to that consultation, and even now, much of the detail remains unknown.

Shah said: “To rush through the final changes before they take effect in 6 months is concerning. With this backdrop and the likely short-term uncertainty following Brexit, the Government has the opportunity to delay the changes, at least until 5 April 2018. 

“This would allow the rules to be carefully considered and measured against a very different economic situation to 18 months prior (when the announcements were first made), and crucially, assess the impact of the UK’s departure from the European Union and adjust the proposals accordingly. 

He added: “Delaying the enactment of these key rules may be seen by many as a brave but sensible decision in a time of uncertainty. It is important that the reform is thought for the long-term and leaves us with a non-domicile regime that can remain fixed for a generation.”

For more information, please contact Nimesh Shah at nimesh.shah@blickrothenberg.com