There are two dates in the next 80 days that should act as deadlines for business owners or senior executives like you. One is Budget 2018 on Tuesday, October 10th, and the other is October 31st, the pay and file deadline for the self employed.

If you want to be smart about your money, you may want to put some things in train now to make the most it.

80 days is not a long time.

Changes to CAT thresholds expected in budget 2017

Apart from the almost inevitable rise in the duty on cigarettes and alcohol, what momentous changes are likely to be foisted on us by our Minister for Finance?

It is thought that Paschal Donoghue will tweak Capital Acquisitions Tax (CAT) limits, the tax payable on inheritances.

The Tax Strategy Group has made a host of proposals to the government. Your blood is possibly still simmering over its proposal that was all over the press a couple of weeks ago that we may have to pay tax on the sale of the family home.

The Group has recommended the adjustment of the allowances for Group B beneficiaries. This group includes siblings, nieces or nephews or grandchildren, great grandchildren etc of the disponer.

In addition, the small gifts exemption, about which I have written many times, which allows you to gift €3000 per annum per child tax free (includes everyone from children to stranger actually) may also come in for scrutiny. 

The small gifts exemption is incredibly useful as a way of distributing your wealth to those you would like to benefit from it before your death, or exposing the beneficiaries to hefty inheritance tax bills after your death.

Far from being morbid, the point I am making is that you should use budget day as a deadline to work out a strategy around the distribution of your wealth because there is no guarantee that CAT will be left alone.

“If, after 10th October, the CAT thresholds go down or rates go up, your children or grandchildren will be worse off. If thresholds become more generous and tax rates decrease, your beneficiaries will gain anyway. It’s a no brainer”.

If you are thinking about your own legacy or expect to inherit money, stop mulling over it. Take action now before it’s too late.

Pay-and-file deadline for the self employed

The other important date is the pay-and-file deadline for self-employed people, which falls on 31st October for paper returns and 14th November if you use ROS.

Why wait till the last minute? You can make your tax return for 2016 any time between 1st January and 14th November this year. I did mine in January – then again, if I wasn’t organised with these matters, there’s no hope for anyone else!

Get your paperwork together now and see what your liability is. You will be giving yourself time to make important decisions. As we all know, decisions that are rushed are not always the best decisions we ever made.

Your tax return is not just something you must do to stay out of the courts. It is a golden opportunity to be strategic about reducing your tax burden and maintaining your wealth.

You’ve got 80 days.

Call me if I can help you solve any of those issues.