CAPPING PERSONAL TAX LIABILITIES

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1 15 March 2005 CAPPING PERSONAL TAX LIABILITIES A Consultation Document Issued by: Income Tax Division, 2 nd Floor Government Office, Buck s Road, Douglas, IM1 3TX

2 Index 1 Introduction 2 The current position a. Personal income tax b. The modified taxation strategy c. What contributions do high net worth individuals make? 3 Social issues 4 Does tax capping exist elsewhere? 5 Impact on other areas of taxation: a. ITIP system b. Subcontractors deductions c. Taxation of married couples d. Rates of tax and thresholds 6 Annual returns 7 Assessments 8 At what level should the cap be set? 9 Summary 10 Closing date for submissions and contact information 2 / 6

3 1. Introduction Treasury Minister Allan Bell MHK announced in his 2005 Budget Statement that the Income Tax Division would consult with interested parties regarding the introduction of a cap on personal tax liabilities. The Minister said: I am sure that this Court will agree with me that one aspect of our economy worth maintaining and encouraging is the relocation to the Isle of Man of individuals with significant wealth who then not only buy local goods and services, but frequently invest in more significant ways. If we can present to the international community a dynamic package of measures on company law, company taxation and individual taxation, a solid foundation for future prosperity will be laid. To this end, and focussing particularly on individuals, I have asked the Assessor to carry out an early and rapid consultation exercise with a view to introducing a cap on personal tax liabilities, as it is likely that such individuals will bring with them the potential for further business opportunities to be created. This document sets out Treasury s position, provides an outline of some issues that need to be considered and tells you the period during which submissions can be made. 2. The current position a. Personal income tax People who are liable to Manx resident income tax are entitled to claim a personal allowance of 8,500 that provides for the first part of their taxable income to be paid free of income tax. Thereafter 10,300 of taxable income is subject to a 10% lower rate of tax, with all further income suffering tax at the higher rate of 18% 1. Unlike some other statutory fees, duties or contributions there is no maximum income tax payment for a year and therefore liabilities continue to increase as the individual s taxable income increases. b. The modified taxation strategy The Modified Taxation Strategy, approved by Tynwald in October 2002, was Treasury s response to international and domestic issues that continue to face the Island to this day. One such issue was the need to encourage inward investment and to adopt measures that would encourage key individuals to move to the Isle of Man. 1 Threshold and rates applying in 2005/ / 6

4 c. What contributions do high net worth individuals make? Treasury considers that high net worth individuals make significant contributions to the Island s economy. At the basic level, these contributions are made via the purchase of local goods and services, but wealthy people relocating to the Isle of Man have also set up businesses that then provide employment opportunities for others. Investment companies and trusts may also be part of a high net worth individual s portfolio. Management of, and professional advice to, these investment vehicles by corporate and trust service providers, accountancy firms and law firms directly contribute to the Island economy through employment, and through the payment of company registration fees, professional fees and other types of charge. Dividends paid by trading or investment companies will continue to be taxable income in the hands of Manx resident shareholders; subject to the cap should it be implemented. 3. Social issues We recognise that putting an upper limit on personal income tax may be perceived by some as a benefit that is only for the wealthiest. Notwithstanding that view, and for reasons outlined in the previous paragraphs, Treasury recognises the contribution to the Manx economy that is made by the most well off and feels that this must be taken into account and, wherever possible encouraged. It could also be argued that there is a limit to the amount of government-provided services and infrastructure that any person can draw on and this point should be borne in mind when considering whether capping personal income tax is fair or not. 4. Do tax caps exist elsewhere? Tax caps exist in a number of jurisdictions. Some are included in law, whilst others are in the form of concessions. In Jersey, legislation is being promoted that will limit the tax liability of people who obtain a housing consent. Gibraltar has legislation that limits the liability of high net worth individuals. The system in Gibraltar requires the individual to obtain a certificate under qualifying high net worth individual rules before the limit on tax can be applied. Guernsey recently issued 2 a consultation paper entitled Building Confidence. One of the key issues considered was the introduction of a personal tax cap to encourage entrepreneurs to move to Guernsey. Unlike the limited approach of Jersey and Gibraltar, our proposal is to set a tax cap that applies to all individual taxpayers that is to say the Manx approach will not be restricted to a select few; it will apply equally and consistently in all relevant cases. 2 Guernsey Consultation ended on 31 January / 6

5 5. Impact on other areas of taxation a. ITIP system Our tax coding system currently requires the deduction of ITIP from every pound of taxable income above the free pay amount. ITIP regulations do not provide for a maximum deduction from remuneration. It is proposed that the ITIP system is not modified. If an individual pays more ITIP in the year than the tax cap amount, they would be able to request a NT (no tax) code or, on assessment, would be entitled to a refund of excess ITIP. b. Subcontractor deductions As with the ITIP system, subcontractor deductions are made from every pound of subcontractor payments. No changes are proposed in this system. If an individual suffers more deductions than the cap, an exemption certificate could be obtained or, on assessment, a refund will be available. c. Taxation of married couples Jointly assessed married couples benefit from personal allowances and lower rate thresholds that are exactly double that available to single individuals. We propose that the tax cap system will retain that approach, with a jointly assessed couple having twice the cap. Doubling the cap will place the married couple in the same position as two single people living together or a married couple who have elected to be independently taxed. d. Rates of tax and thresholds The Income Tax Act 1970 allows Treasury, by Resolution, to set a lower rate and a higher rate of tax and a threshold that applies between the two prescribed rates. The Income Tax (Amendment) Bill 2005 includes provisions that will allow Treasury to prescribe more flexible rates of tax and income thresholds, and this would enable the introduction of a tax cap. 6. Annual returns Even if a tax cap is introduced, statute requires a person to make a true and complete return of their whole income. That requirement will not change and all taxpayers will need to file a true and correct return. 7. Assessments Should a tax cap be introduced, the Income Tax Division will continue to record all income sources, deductions and reliefs as part of the assessment process and ensure accurate data is available for budget forecasting etc. 5 / 6

6 8. At what level should the cap be set? Treasury has not expressed a view regarding the level of a tax cap. We invite submissions regarding the level of income, above which, income tax should be charged at a rate of 0%. The examples below show the approximate levels of taxable income that an individual would need in order to bring the cap into play: Cap at 100,000 needs taxable income in excess of 570,000 Cap at 150,000 needs taxable income in excess of 850,000 Cap at 200,000 needs taxable income in excess of 1,125, Summary You are invited to consider the implication of the introduction of a tax cap, its level and to comment on the impact of a cap on other areas of taxation (coding, married couples, etc.). 10. Closing date for submissions and contact information The closing date for this consultation exercise is 29 April 2005 and submissions should be addressed to: Richard Carter ATT Senior Legislation Officer Income Tax Division Government Office Buck s Road Douglas Isle of Man IM1 3TX 6 / 6

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