Autumn Budget 2017—Summary of key announcements and background

A summary of the key business tax announcements made in the Chancellor’s Autumn Budget on 22 November 2017.

CONTENTS

  1. BUSINESS AND ENTERPRISE
  2. INCENTIVISED INVESTMENT
  3. EMPLOYMENT TAXES AND SHARE INCENTIVES
  4. REAL ESTATE TAXES
  5. FINANCE
  6. VAT
  7. TAX ADMINISTRATION AND AVOIDANCE
  8. INTERNATIONAL
  9. ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT

KEY BUSINESS TAX ANNOUNCEMENTS

Key announcements that were new for Autumn Budget 2017 include:

  1. a significant collection of measures on venture capital schemes to encourage more investment in high-risk innovative companies
  2. changes to the rules taxing both non-resident individuals and non-resident companies in respect of UK property
  3. the consultation on extending the off-payroll working rules to the private sector
  4. confirmation that the UK will not seek to reintroduce the higher 1.5% rate of stamp duty and SDRT on exit from the EU, and
  5. the proposed introduction of withholding tax on royalties paid to recipients in low tax jurisdictions that relate to UK sales, regardless of the location of the payer

For the key Private Client announcements, see: Autumn Budget 2017—Lexis®PSL Private Client analysis.

Measures with immediate effect

New measures with effect from 22 November 2017:

  1. Capital gains tax: taxation of carried interest
  2. Capital gains depreciatory transactions
  3. Double taxation relief and permanent establishment losses
  4. Intangible fixed assets: related party step-up schemes
  5. Disguised remuneration
  6. Double taxation relief: changes to targeted anti avoidance rule
  7. SDLT– higher rates
  8. SDLT – relief for first time buyers

BACKGROUND

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, delivered his first Autumn Budget on Wednesday 22 November 2017.

Political hopes and expectations weighed heavily on the Budget, with many wondering whether it could contain anything to alleviate the pressures caused by the lack of a government majority in Parliament, and the ongoing Brexit negotiations. The Chancellor, however, wore the pressure lightly, with several comic moments, including at one point being passed a box of cough sweets by the Prime Minister. It was quite a lengthy speech, with even more released in the detailed documents that followed, although everyone will be glad that he didn’t challenge William Gladstone’s record of 4 hours and 45 minutes set in 1853.

As had been much-trailed, there was a lot of focus on housing and the need for more home building, giving the Chancellor a chance to update his predecessor’s tag-line, moving from focusing on fixing the roof, to laying foundations. A number of the big tax measures related to the taxation of property. The Budget ‘scorecard’ shows that the big tax announcements that were new for today, in terms of cost to the exchequer, were the abolition of SDLT for first time buyers for properties up to £300,000 (or the first £300,000 for properties up to £500,000), and the bringing forward of business rates uprating so that it follows CPI rather than RPI. However these are to be balanced, albeit in future years, by extending non-resident CGT to all types of UK property and bringing non-resident companies within the corporation tax net in respect of their UK property income and gains; both slightly surprising at a time when the government is attempting to attract foreign investment into the UK.

As has become expected in Budget speeches, the funding for any tax giveaways comes in the form of new anti-avoidance measures, of which there were many, and renewed investment into HMRC, this time with a focus on technology, to enable the collection of additional tax revenues.

Mr Hammond’s plans for resetting the fiscal calendar promised policy consultation in the spring with draft legislation in the summer, but today saw the announcement of a number of consultations on significant tax measures, some of which are expected next week, which have the potential to have a significant impact in future years, such as off-payroll working in the private sector and employment status, tax changes to reduce the amount of single-use plastics, and the introduction of withholding tax on royalties paid to low-tax jurisdictions in respect of UK sales. We are told to expect further clarity on the new tax policy making cycle before the end of the year.

Despite some of the increases in tax and the surprise removal of indexation allowance for corporate gains, most large businesses will be relieved that few fundamental changes have been made to the main business tax roadmap measures such as the cuts to corporation tax to 17% in 2020 and further support for businesses who are facing increases in business rates. The investment community will also welcome the majority of the measures announced to enhance and refocus the EIS and VCT schemes, perhaps with some trepidation about the new ‘risk to capital’ condition.

Definitions

The following abbreviations are used in this analysis:

  1. Autumn Budget 2017: the main document published by HM Treasury
  2. OOTLAR: overview of tax legislation and rates
  3. FB 2018: Finance Bill 2018, also known as the Finance (No 2) Bill 2017–2019, or sometimes as the Finance Bill 2017–18, this is the Finance Bill that will be published on 1 December 2017 and will be enacted as the Finance Act 2018
  4. FB 2019: Finance Bill 2019, also known as the Finance (No 3) Bill 2017–2019, or sometimes as the Finance Bill 2018–19, this is the Finance Bill that will be enacted as the Finance Act 2019
  5. TIIN: Tax information and impact notes, also known as policy papers

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Filed Under: Budget

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