Set against the backdrop of the concerns regarding the impact of Covid-19, uncertainties regarding Brexit and a recent change in the Chancellor responsible for delivering it, yesterday saw the first Spring Budget announcement.
A follow on from a period where main spending commitments and changes to legislation were announced in the Autumn, it is understandable that the announced changes focused largely on areas designed to provide appropriate support to the self-employed, employees and businesses during this challenging period. This included amends to the rules around statutory sick pay and relaxations in business rates, in addition to introducing measures which represented the largest spending commitments by a Government in over 20 years.
The key points announced were:
In respect of savings and investments it was a case of little change and more of the same
0% Starting rate for savings tax - Unchanged - £5,000
ISA annual subscription limit - Unchanged - £20,000
Junior ISA & Child Trust Fund Annual Subscription Limit - Increases to £9,000
As previously announced, this year there will be no change to the personal allowance or the tax rate bands, due to the larger than usual changes which took place last year.
For businesses, it was mostly positive news, or expected news, as the Government attempt to find a balance between the UK being open for business and finding the increased spending commitments.
The NIC Employment Allowance was increased to £4,000 and the level at which NIC becomes payable was lifted to £9,500, with a further commitment to bring this ultimately in line with the personal allowance.
EMI (Enterprise Management Incentive) Schemes:
For small business owners and those with consulting businesses the news was perhaps not so positive.
IR35 (off payroll working rules):
Non- UK resident Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) Surcharge:
Whilst there was a shift in focus to the cash or hidden economy, it is clear that the commitment to tackling anti-avoidance remains with more resources for HMRC in this area being announced.
Interestingly, there was also an announcement of a review for the provision of tax advice to ensure that it is essentially fit for purpose. This is something the relevant professional institutes have been suggesting for some time and will hopefully only be positive for those seeking advice.
Although for many other international individuals, including US citizens, there were perhaps no large impactful measures. As with all these things, the devil is in the detail, which will come when the relevant legislative provisions are released in the coming weeks. We will continue to provide relevant updates as the picture becomes clearer.