George Osborne has delivered his final Autumn Statement before the General Election next year. The main headlines are:
Stamp Duty Land Tax (‘SDLT’) has been changed and a progressive tax rate will apply to residential sales completed after midnight on Wednesday 3rd December. The ‘break even’ point is £935,000, purchases below that will be subject to lower SDLT than before whereas purchases above that will be subject to higher SDLT.
Research & Development Tax Credits paid to small and medium sized companies will increase from 125% to 130% of ‘qualifying expenditure’ incurred after 1 April 2015. The credit for large companies will also increase from 10% to 11%.
Income Tax Personal Allowance will increase to £10,600 for the 2015/16 tax year – this is higher than previously advised by the government.
Resident non-domiciles will see an increase in the annual charge payable if they wish to retain the remittance basis of taxation. A new scale will apply from £30,000 for those resident in 7 out of 9 tax years up to £90,000 for those resident 17 out of 20 tax years. A consultation is also being proposed to make the election apply for a minimum of three years.
Diverted profits tax is a new tax to counter the use of aggressive tax planning techniques used to divert profits away from the UK. The tax will be levied at 25% from 1 April 2015 although exact details on how this will be applied have not yet been released.
Air Passenger Duty is being scrapped on economy flights for those under 12 years old with effect from 1 May 2015. The relief will extend to under 16’s from 1 March 2016 and tickets will be expected to display the amount of duty payable to ensure that the savings are passed on.
The amount held in an ISA at the time of death of an individual can now be used by a surviving spouse to invest into their own ISA. Although no IHT was payable on the transfer of assets between spouses on death the funds can now be reinvested in full into an ISA.
Entrepreneurs’ Relief will be removed for individuals in respect of the transfer of goodwill to their own company and Corporation Tax reliefs will be restricted for payments in respect of these intangible assets.
National Insurance employers contributions are abolished for apprentices under 25 with effect from 1 April 2016 (unless the apprentice earns more than circa £42,000).
A new ‘aggravated’ penalty loading of 50% will apply in addition to existing behaviour related penalties for individuals who move hidden funds to circumvent tax transparency agreements.