Another measure hidden away in the Chancellor’s Autumn Budget was the proposal that buy-to-let landlords will be able to claim 45p a mile for necessary visits to their rental properties.
This will be as an alternative to claims for capital allowances and deductions for actual expenses incurred, such as fuel.
There has been much lobbying from the small business sector to reduce business rates. The Chancellor stated that 600,000 small businesses currently benefit from small business rates relief.
In order to support the licensed trade from April 2017, pubs with a rateable value up to £100,000 are able to claim a £1,000 business rates discount for one year. This relief has now been extended until March 2019.
The rate of the R&D expenditure credit is being increased from 11% to 12%, in order to support business investment in R&D. This is the relief available to those companies that do not qualify for the more generous relief available to SMEs.
The VAT registration limit normally increases in line with inflation each year, however the limit has been frozen at £85,000 until 1 April 2020. At the same time the deregistration limit remains at £83,000.
There had been rumours that the VAT threshold would be reduced so that more businesses would be required to charge VAT on their sales. The UK currently has the highest VAT registration threshold in Europe.
Note that the introduction of Making Tax Digital (MTD) for VAT in April 2019 will apply to those businesses above the registration limit. Freezing or reducing the threshold will bring more businesses within the scope of MTD.
The Government will double the amount that an individual may invest under the EIS in a tax year to £2 million from the current limit of £1 million, provided any amount over £1 million is invested in one or more knowledge-intensive companies.
The annual investment limit for knowledge-intensive companies receiving investments under the EIS and from VCTs will be increased to £10 million from the current limit of £5 million. The lifetime limit raised by such companies will remain the same at £20 million.
Company car benefits are based on CO2 emissions data which has encouraged employees to choose diesel cars due to lower CO2 emissions. The government is trying to reduce the number of diesel cars and will increase the current 3% diesel supplement to 4% from 6 April 2018.
As previously announced radical changes to the company car benefit rules are being introduced in 2020. The benefit in kind for electric cars and hybrid cars with a range of 130 miles or more on the electric motor is being reduced to just 2%. That means that the taxable benefit for such a car with a list price of £30,000 would be just £600 a year. Where the employer allows staff to charge their own electric car at work there will be no taxable benefit.
The Chancellor reminded us that the government are committed to increasing the personal allowance to £12,500 in 2020 and the higher rate tax threshold to £50,000. However, the personal allowance for 2018/19 was only increased in line with inflation to £11,850 and the higher rate threshold to £46,350.
Note that up to 10% of the personal allowance (£1,185) may be transferred from one spouse or civil partner to the other if unused and the transferee is a basic rate taxpayer. This transfer will now be available on behalf of deceased spouses and civil partners, and the claim may now be backdated for up to four years where the entitlement conditions were met.