Saint & Co’s full Chancellor’s Autumn Statement 2015 is available to download by clicking on the link on the right hand side of this page.
Below are the key points from the 2015 Statement.
Recent Autumn Statements have often been more like mini-Budgets, but the 2015 Statement at first sight appeared not to be so. The Chancellor’s primary goal was to deliver the Spending Review, so there was greater than normal emphasis on departmental expenditure and the £4,000 billion to be spent over the next five years. Nevertheless, Mr Osborne did make a number of tax-related announcements, the main ones being:
- The rates of stamp duty land tax (SDLT) will be increased by 3% for the purchasers of buy-to-let and second homes from 1 April 2016. Three years later, any capital gains tax due on the disposal of residential property will have to be made as a payment on account within 30 days of the disposal.
- The rate of the apprenticeship levy, due to begin in April 2017, has been set at 0.5% of the employer’s payroll. Every employer will receive an allowance of £15,000 to offset against their levy payment, meaning that only businesses with a payroll of over £3 million will pay the levy.
- The proposed changes to tax credits, which were rejected by the House of Lords, have been scrapped at a cost of £3.4 billion in 2016/17.
- While there was no news on the future tax treatment of pensions, Mr Osborne did reveal that the dates for the contribution rate increases under auto-enrolment would be pushed back six months to align them with tax years, saving £840 million in tax relief costs. The rate for the new single tier state pension, due to start next April, was set at £155.65 a week.
- The absence of inflation meant that many annually adjusted figures will remain unchanged for 2016/17. For example, most national insurance contribution thresholds are unaltered and the ISA limits will remain at their 2015/16 levels. Also on the ISA front, a consultation on including equity crowdfunding as an eligible investment was launched.
- A planned change to the company car tax treatment of diesels, which would have scrapped the 3% benefit differential between diesel and petrol cars from April 2016, will be deferred for five years.
- Small business rates relief will be extended for another year. A review of business rates is due to be published alongside the March 2016 Budget.
- The provision of reserve energy generating capacity and the generation of renewable energy benefiting from other government support by community energy organisations will no longer be qualifying activities for venture capital schemes from 30 November 2015. This was included in the recently passed Finance Act.
- Several measures to counter tax avoidance were announced, including a new penalty of 60% of tax due to be charged in all cases successfully tackled under the General Anti-Abuse Rule (GAAR).