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Autumn Budget - Business Tax Changes
25 Oct 2018
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Autumn Budget - Business Tax Changes

Corporation Tax

Corporation Tax rates to remain at 19% for the financial year beginning 1 April 2019.

Employment Allowance reform

From 2020, the government will legislate to restrict access to the £3,000 NIC Employment Allowance, to employers with employer NIC liabilities of under £100,000 in the previous tax year. Connected employers will have their contributions aggregated for this purpose.

Annual Investment Allowance increased

The Annual Investment Allowance (AIA) is to be increased from the present £200,000 to £1m from 1 January 2019 to 31 December 2020. It is then presumed that this will return to the £200,000 limit. This should provide a welcome boost to business investment during the Brexit transition period.

Please note that not all capital purchases qualify for this relief. Please call for clarification of what is covered if you are considering a significant acquisition.

R&D tax credit claims to be restricted

From 1 April 2020, the amount of payable tax credit that can be claimed under the R&D SME tax relief scheme will be limited to three times the company’s total PAYE and NIC payments for the period. Any loss that cannot be surrendered can be carried forward and used against future profits.

The government will consult with interested parties on this issue.

IR35 changes

The changes recently made to IR35 arrangements in the public sector are to be rolled out to the private sector. The changes will come into effect from April 2020 and small firms will be exempt. Firms that have concerns that they may be affected should contact us for more details.

Car and van fuel benefit charge increases

For 2019-20, these will increase by reference to the September 2018 Retail Prices Index.

A new 2% digital services tax

From April 2020, the major social media, search engine and online retailers will be subject to a 2% tax on revenues generated from UK users of their services. The Chancellor did indicate that if an internationally recognised levy was introduced, that the UK may fall into line in place of this 2% UK tax.

At last, rates relief for High Street retailers

In a much anticipated announcement, smaller retailers in England, occupying shop premises with rateable values under £51,000, should benefit from a cut of one-third in their business rates bills for 2 years from April 2019.

They should also benefit from £675m to be spent on improvements by councils to help transform high streets, the redevelopment of empty shops as homes and offices and the repurposing of old and historic buildings.

In a humorous exchange, the Chancellor also announced 100% business rates relief for public lavatories.

Plastics tax

For those readers who are concerned about the environment they will be pleased to note that the government is to consider introducing a tax on the production and importing of plastic packaging from April 2022.

The charge will apply to plastic packaging that does not contain at least 30% recycled plastic.

Changes to the apprentices’ levy

From April, larger employers will be able to invest up to 25% of their apprenticeship levy to support apprentices in their supply chain. Additionally, some smaller employers will pay half what they currently pay for apprenticeship training: a reduction from 10% to 5%. The government will fund the remaining 95%.

Charities small trading exemption increase

The limits that exempt small scale trading by charities from UK tax are to be increased from the current £5,000 – where turnover is under £20,000 – and £50,000 where turnover exceeds £200,000. These £5,000 and £50,000 exemptions are to be increased to £8,000 and £80,000 respectively.

The changes will apply from 6 April 2019 for unincorporated charities and from 1 April 2019 for incorporated charities.

A new structures and buildings allowance (SBA)

This will provide tax relief for qualifying capital expenditure on new non-residential buildings where all contracts for the physical construction works are entered into on or after 29 October 2018.

Relief will not include the cost of land or dwellings.

Tax relief for electric charge points to be extended

The present first year allowances available for the installation of electric charge points is to be extended for four years, until the end of the financial year 2022-23.

Reduction in tax writing down allowance

The special rate of writing down allowance is being reduced from 8% to 6% from April 2019.

Supposedly, this is intended to closer align tax depreciation with commercial depreciation rates.

Anti-avoidance measures

The Finance Bill will contain a number of measures that will continue to improve HMRC’s campaigns to reduce the impact of tax avoidance schemes.

Tax to be protected in insolvency

From 6 April 2020, the government will change the insolvency rules so that taxes collected on behalf of employees and customers, primarily employees PAYE and NIC and customers VAT, will be treated as a preferential creditor on winding up rather than distributed to other creditors.

Company loss relief loop-holes to be closed

Most of the changes will apply from April 2019 and will prevent relief for carried forward losses being claimed in excess of that intended by legislation.

The changes will include:

  • the definition of “relevant profit”,
  • the computation of life assurance and annuity business profits,
  • the deductions allowance in group situations,
  • the calculation of terminal relief,
  • the cap on profits against which certain losses may be allowed,
  • and other minor considerations.

VAT: reverse charge process to be extended to construction services

This change, to extend the reverse charge process to the building and construction industry is due to come into effect from 1 October 2019.

This will place the onus for dealing with the VAT charge due on subcontractors’ bills to the main contractor.

This will cause accounting rather than cash flow issues for main contractors as they will add entries to their VAT returns to pay the subcontractors VAT, but then deduct the same amount as input VAT on the same return.

The aim is to stop subcontractors adding VAT to their bills and then disappearing without remitting the VAT to HMRC.

VAT registration threshold – no change

The present VAT registration limit (£85,000) and deregistration limit (£83,000) will continue to apply for a further two years; until 31 March 2022.