Q. The budget seemed ‘much ado about nothing, did I miss something?’
A. That’s not far off the mark, particularly given the U turn on increases to national insurance for the self employed. However, there was some good news for businesses.
Q. Given the likely impact of the business rates revaluation, were the measures included in the budget some of the “good news”?
A. Yes. There is genuine concern over the impact of the revaluation of business rates. Such a revaluation usually occurs every five years, but due to a two year delay in the previous valuation the impact is even more pronounced. The Treasury has claimed that only a quarter of businesses will see a rise with the remainder seeing little change or even a fall in their rates. However, London in particular, and the South East generally has seen a rise in the value of property resulting in increases for many businesses in our area. Small businesses that lose the Small Business Rate Relief will now benefit from a cap to the increase to their business rates of the greater of £600 or the transitional relief cap, with a limit in the fi rst year of £600. Local authorities in England have also been given a discretionary fund of £300 million to give relief locally in respect of the increases. Pubs with a rateable value up to £100,000 receive an additional benefit, with a £1,000 discount to their business rates.
Q. As a small business, were there changes to the digital record keeping requirements?
A. Yes, in that the mandatory commencement date for unincorporated businesses and landlords below the VAT threshold is put back a year to April 2019. For very small businesses, self-employed people and landlords with a turnover below £10,000, the digital record keeping and recording requirements won’t apply.
Q. Is there any change to corporation tax?
A. Yes, but only as previously announced, as the rate falls from 19% from April 2017 to 17% in 2020.
Q. Are there any things to keep an eye out for?
A. Yes, the government has announced its intention to review a number of areas and introduce measures as appropriate, such as:
- Tax avoidance - further action against promoters of tax avoidance schemes, including a new penalty for enablers of such schemes that
- are ultimately defeated by HMRC; the defence of relying on “nonindependent advice” will also be removed
- Image rights – guidelines will be published for employers who make image rights payments to employees
- Accommodation – consultation proposals will be published dealing with the taxation of employer provided accommodation.