This is the last budget which will take place in the spring. There will however be a second budget later on this year after which the annual budget will be in autumn each year. This means that any changes will be well in advance of the new tax year.
Predictions that borrowing will decrease and growth increase allowed the Government to confirm that the rate of corporation tax will continue to fall to 19% from April 2017 and 17% from April 2020.
To encourage businesses to invest in new science, research, innovation and technologies the administrative burden will be reduced. We will have to wait until the details are available to know exactly what this means but hopefully it should reduce costs for businesses making such claims. In addition further simplification will be given for foreign lenders where double taxation is involved.
Support for business rates for small businesses from April 2017 including a £1,000 discount for public houses with a rateable value up to £100,000 will be welcomed by many small communities for whom the local pub is often at the heart of the community. Further support for business includes limiting the increase in bills to £600 pa and providing local authorities with discretionary funding for individual hardship cases.
Further good news for the local haulage and transport sectors was the freezing of the HGV vehicle excise duty and road user levy.
However, the above advantages will have to paid for and the chancellor has chosen to try to equalise the amount of national insurance paid by employees with that paid by the self-employed. From April 2018 the level of class 4 national insurance paid by the self-employed will increase to 10% and then to 11% from April 2019. The increased cost will be compensated for to some extent by the abolition of class 2 national insurance from April 2018. Only those with profits in excess of £16,250 will pay more national insurance.
A further blow to both businesses and individuals will be the reduction in the tax free dividend allowance from £5,000 in 2016/17 to £2,000 from April 2018. Again the chancellor is looking to reduce the differential between the self-employed and those operating through their own personal company.
The government will be carrying out further consultations regarding the provision of benefits to employees including accommodation and employee expenses. This will include a review of the valuation of benefits and available exemptions in order to make the system fairer and more consistent.
Finally the mandating of Making Tax Digital for Business (MTDfB) for unincorporated businesses who will need to report quarterly to HMRC has been high on the Agenda for tax advisors and accountants. However the announcement today means that only those businesses, self-employed people and landlords with turnovers in excess of the VAT threshold will be required to start using the new digital service from April 2018. Those with income below the VAT threshold will not come within the new rules until April 2019.
For our detailed analysis of the changes and their impact on you, your family and business, download our Spring Budget 2017 Report.
If you would like more detailed, one-to-one advice on any of the issues raised in the Chancellor’s Budget speech, contact us.