Budget 2018: The end of austerity?

The Chancellor, Philip Hammond, delivered his third Budget on Monday 29 October.

He reaffirmed his intention to secure a ‘brighter future’ for Britain, characterised by a ‘high wage, high skill economy’, and assured his audience that the ‘era of austerity’ is coming to an end.

In a bid to leave taxpayers with more cash in their pockets, Hammond confirmed that the Personal Allowance will increase to £12,500 and the higher-rate band to £50,000, from April 2019 – a year earlier than planned.

In addition, the National Living Wage will increase to £8.21 from April 2019, whilst fuel duty will remain frozen for the ninth consecutive year.

Amid uncertainty, one thing that businesses can now be certain about is that the VAT registration threshold, currently £85,000, will remain until April 2022.

Despite speculation, Entrepreneurs Relief also remains largely unchanged except for the qualifying period which will increase to two years.

Hammond also sought to appease SMEs struggling because of the business rates debacle; promising to cut bills by a third, over two years, for those with a rateable value of £51,000 or less.

As predicted, IR35 rules will be extended to large and medium-sized businesses in the private sector, though not until April 2020.

The Chancellor also announced two changes to property tax for first-time buyers and landlords.

The Stamp Duty exemption announced in last year’s Budget will be extended to first-time buyers purchasing shared ownership property, up to the value of £500,000, whilst landlords may face additional Capital Gains Tax, when selling their properties, as Lettings Relief will be restricted to those in shared occupancy with tenants.

For more information, contact Phil Blackburn on 01767 315010 or e-mail phil.blackburn@georgehay.co.uk

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