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Autumn Budget 2021

 

Written by Ray Coman

 

PAYE code adjustmentsLight on change but only about 7 weeks after announcement of the Health and social care levy, the Budget acted mainly as recap on regulation scheduled for the Finance Bill 2021/22.  Rishi Sunnak’s third Budget made further pledges to increase spending on the NHS.

 

Increase in rate on dividend tax

Advancement in retirement age

Annual Investment Allowance up

Residential Property Developer Tax 

Capital Gains tax reporting time limits to be extended

Promoters of Tax Avoidance to be more heavily punished

Benefit-in-kind taxation to increase for vehicles

NIC to rise in line with inflation

Health and Social Care Levy

Introduction of MTD delayed

Other changes

 

Increase in rate on dividend tax

 

As announced on 7 September, the rate of tax on dividend income will increase by 1.25% from 2021/22.  Consequently the ordinary rate will be 8.75%, the upper rate 33.75% and the additional rate 39.35%.

 

Advancement in retirement age

 

From 6 April 2028, the normal pension age is set to increase from 55 to 57.  This will affect the earliest date on which pension benefits can be drawn.

 

Annual Investment Allowance up

 

The Finance Bill 2021/22 will legislate for the temporary increase in Annual Investment Allowance to £1,000,000 to extend until 5 April 2023.

 

Residential Property Developer Tax

 

As stated by the government in February 2021, a surcharge of 4% will be levied on corporation tax profits from property development companies.  However this will only apply to profits above an annual allowance of £25 million.

 

Capital Gains tax reporting time limits to be extended

 

For both UK and non-UK residents, the time limits for reporting on the disposal on UK property will increase from 30 days to 60 days.  This will take effect for disposal completion as from today.

 

The payment deadline will also increase to 60 days, but for residential property disposals only.

 

Promoters of Tax Avoidance to be more heavily punished

 

Further enforcement measures are introduced to penalize promoters of tax avoidance.  Thee include the freezing of any promoter’s assets.

 

Benefit-in-kind taxation to increase for vehicles

 

From 2022/23, the van benefit charge will increase to £3,600 and the multiplier used in calculating the car benefit will increase to £25,300.  The van fuel benefit charge will also increase to £688.  This will increase the tax burden on companies providing vehicles to employees and directors as a perk.

 

NIC to rise in line with inflation

 

National Insurance thresholds will increase in line with Consumer Price Index (or CPI) which at the time of writing is measured at 3.1%.  Nonetheless, the upper profits limit (for self—employed) and upper earning limit (for employed individuals) will remain at current levels through 2021/22.

 

Health and Social Care Levy

 

As previously announced on 7 September, the government will increase funding in the NHS through an increase in national insurance.  The increase is 1.25% and will take effect from 6 April 2022.  The levy will not apply to Class 2 and Class 3 NICs, which are flat rate.

 

The amount of tax for all working age employed individuals and self-employed people will go up by 1.25% with income above the earnings threshold and lower profits limit.  The levy therefore applies to the main rate by increasing it to 10.25% for self-employed individuals, to 13.25% for employees and to 15.05% for employers.  The additional rate for all working age individuals will increase to 3.25%.

 

From April 2023, the levy will also apply to people who are working over the state pension age.  However, pension income itself will not remain subject to the H&SC levy and therefore the burden of extra tax will weigh predominantly on the working population.

 

Introduction of MTD delayed

 

The start date Making Tax Digital (MTD) as it applies to Tax Returns has been postponed to April 2024.  The Income Tax Self-Assessment (ITSA) will oblige sole traders and landlords with an income of over £10,000 to file five reports to HMRC each year.  The date will be mandatory for partnership one year later in April 2025.

 

Other changes

 

Isas limit of £20,000 and junior ISA limit of £9,000 will remain unchanged in 2022/23

Fuel duty frozen amid rising petrol prices

 

Health and social care levy

 

Written by Ray Coman

 

PAYE code adjustmentsA hike in national insurance, dubbed the ‘social care levy’, will be phased in by the government from next April.  The government will increase national insurance of 1.25%.  Currently, national insurance is not payable by individuals of who have reached the state retirement age, which is currently 66 for most people.  However, from April 2023, the levy will be payable by all adults.

 

Employment national insurance levy

Self-employed national insurance levy

Contractor company national insurance levy

Applications

 

Employment national insurance levy

 

The employee’s national insurance threshold is currently £9,568 per year.  Therefore, a person with an income of £20,000, will pay an extra (20,000 – 9,568 x 1.25%, or) £130.40.

 

The employer’s national insurance threshold is currently £8,840 per year.  Therefore, an employer hiring a person with an income of £20,000, will pay an extra (20,000 – 8,840 x 1.25%, or) £139.50.

 

There is also an upper earnings limit for employees.  This is the limit at which the national insurance rate currently decreases to 2%.  The new levy, however, will not stop at the upper earnings limit.  Therefore, a worker on for instance £100,000, will pay an extra (100,000 – 8,840, @ 1.25% or) £1,139.50.

 

Self-employed national insurance levy

 

The social care levy will also apply to the self-employed liable to Class 4 NICs.  The increase in national insurance for sole traders and partners will be the same as that illustrated above for employees.  It should be noted that the levy is effectively an increase of 2.5%, since it is 1.25% for employers and 1.25% for employees.  The levy disproportionately affects employed over self-employed workers.

 

Contractor company national insurance levy

 

In addition, the tax paid on dividends will also increase by 1.25%.  Consequently, starting 6 April 2022, basic rate dividend tax will be 8.75%, higher rate dividend tax will be 33.75% and the tax on dividends for additional-rate taxpayers will be a whopping 39.35%.

 

Applications

 

According to the government statement, the extra income will be used -specifically- to fund the NHS and social care.  As a consequence, the levy will be of least cost and of greatest benefit the nations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.  The Prime Minister acknowledges that yesterday’s announcement breaks a manifesto pledge not to increase national insurance, income tax or VAT.  The reason given is the cost of the pandemic. Business groups argue these tax reforms will slow the pace of economic recovery.

 

2021 Budget

 

Written by Ray Coman

 

2021-BudgetIn his opening remarks, Mr Sunak put into numbers the sheer cost of supporting the economy through the pandemic.  He explained that borrowing had been at its highest since World War 2. This places the UK in a predicament because a mere 1% increase in interest rates would add £25 billion to the cost of debt.  Fiscal measures aim to stimulate the economy through its recovery phase and afterward buffer finances to shore up British debt.

 

Among rumours and fears of shock tax rises especially to capital gains tax, the 2021 Budget has been one of the more keenly awaited.  One year into lockdown, and with public borrowing at a record high, the pressure is on fiscal policy makers to start calling in revenue.  Too early and tax rises could set back the much-needed economic recovery.  Financials have helped ease the predicament. Britain steals the march in its vaccination program, has been helped by a surging London stock market index and pound nearing a three-year high.

 

Corporation tax to rise

Loss carry back window to be lengthen from one to three years

Income tax thresholds left practically unchanged

Extension to furlough

A fifth self-employment income support scheme scheduled

Uplift in universal credit, minimum wage and apprenticeship grants

Restart Grants launched

Continuation of loans to business

Business rate holiday to continue

Reduced rate VAT for the hospitality sector be prolonged

Stamp duty holiday prolonged

Mortgage guarantee

Capital allowance super-deduction introduced

Capital gains tax regime largely untouched

Contactless payment limit to double

Other Budget highlights

Budget 2021 summary

 

Corporation tax to rise

 

The rate of corporation tax will increase from 19% to 25% on 1 April 2023.

 

At 19%, corporation tax is the lowest of G7 nations, and with the Tory manifesto pledge to freeze rates on income tax, national insurance and VAT, it was placed as prime candidate for revenue raising.  Rishi Sunak restated the pledge not to raise income tax, NI or VAT.

 

Even at 25%, corporation tax remains the lowest in the G7 nations.  Other nations, also faced with the challenge of the costs of covid, are likely to respond with similar tax rises which could help to keep the British company tax rate competitive, in spite of the hike announced today.

 

Businesses with profits of less than £50,000 will continue to enjoy the lower rate of 19%.  Once profits exceed £50,000 a tapering will be introduced.  Only business with profits of £250,000 or greater taxed at full rate

 

The change of rate from 19% to 25% marks a significant U-turn on George Osborne and David Cameron’s policy.  Globalisation facilitates the ability of business to route profits through lower tax jurisdictions.  The trend about increasing tax on individuals responded to this fiscal challenge.  Consequently, the ability of the corporation tax hike to deliver on its revenue objective could be overstated.

 

From April 2023, many businesses will prefer the tax implications of remaining unincorporated.  The more tax efficient route for self-employed will likely become sole trader or, where two or more individuals or working together, partnership of LLP.

 

Loss carry back window to be lengthen from one to three years

 

Currently a loss can only be carried back one year for corporation tax purposes.  One exception is when a company ceases.  Effective April 2021, companies will be able to carry back up to £2 million to the preceding three years.  The measure will be particularly valuable to companies that have suffered losses as a result of Covid.

 

Income tax thresholds left practically unchanged

 

Recent Budgets have seen successive rises in the threshold at which individuals start paying tax.  However, today’s Budget confirmed almost no change in personal allowance.  Inflation is widely expected to creep into the system as a consequence of extravagant government debt purchase and therefore a freeze on rates and allowances could give cause to a taxpayer loss in real terms.  The process by which the buying power of money reduces but tax rates remain unchanged is referred to as fiscal drag.  It is often highlighted in the context of the UK inheritance tax nil rate band.

 

The personal allowance will increase to £12,570 from 2021/22 and then remain fixed until April 2026.  The higher rate tax threshold will nudge up to £50,270 and then also remain frozen until the next Parliament.

 

The following thresholds will not change until 2026:

 

The VAT registration threshold will be fixed at £85,000 until March 2022.  Mr Sunak was quick to point out that  threshold was apparently twice as generous as the EU average.

 

No change was announced the ISA limit, which will remain of £20,000 per person for 2021/22.

 

Extension to furlough

 

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme grant is to be extended until the end of September 2021. This postponement enlarges the scheme well beyond the June expiry previously announced.

 

Employees will continue to be entitled to receive 80% of pay for hours not worked until 30th September 2021.  There will be no change in the scheme until the end of June.  For the month of July, however, employers will be required to contribute 10% of salary, and for August and September, 20% of salary for hours not worked.  The government would therefore pay for the remaining 60% for the final two months of the scheme.

 

A fifth self-employment income support scheme scheduled

 

As previously announced, a forth SEISS grant, will be available to cover lost profits up to the end of April.  The grant will be based on 80% of average profits for the three months, subject to a cap of £7,500.

 

A fifth and final grant will be open to applications from May which will have a value equal to three months’ of average profits.  Self-employed people with a turnover which has fallen 30% continue to receive full grant.  For other business owners, the grant will be equal to 30% of profits.

 

The SEISS had not previously been available to the newly self employed.  However, announced in today’s statement a self-employed person who has filed a 2019-20 by midnight yesterday will be eligible for the fifth grant.

 

Uplift in universal credit, minimum wage and apprenticeship grants

 

To support low income households, the weekly Universal Credit increase of £20 will continue for a further six months.  To match this increase a one-off payment of £500 will be available to claimants of the Working Tax Credit.  Neither Universal Credit nor Working Tax Credit is subject to tax.

 

The Chancellor announced a national living wage increase to £8.91.  The incentive to business for hiring an apprentice will now run until September 2021 and apply to apprentices of any age.  The incentive payment will be increased to £3,000.

 

Restart Grants launched

 

The Government roadmap has set out that non-essential retail business will be allowed to open from 12th April 2021.  Affected businesses will be eligible for grants up to £6k per premises. 

 

Hospitality, accommodation, personal care and gym, entertainment, tourism and performing arts venues will be required to stay closed.  A reopening date of 17th May has been pencilled in.  Affected businesses in the hospitality sector will be eligible for grants of up to £18,000 to help restart.

 

The Restart Grant for Film & TV Production will also be extended and a £300 million fund will be set up to support theatres.

 

Continuation of loans to business

 

Bounce-back loan and CBILs come to an end.  On the expiry of the current lending programme, a new loan will be available of between £325k up to £10 million through to the end of the year.  The government guarantees lenders up to 80% of the value of these loans.

 

Business rate holiday to continue

 

A business rate holiday is currently enjoyed in the hospitality, leisure and retail industries.  This business rate holiday will continue until the end of June 2021.  Business rates will be discounted up to 2/3rds until the end of the year.

 

Reduced rate VAT for the hospitality sector be prolonged

 

For business in the hospitality and leisure sectors, the 5% reduced rate of VAT will extended until six months until end of September.  From 1 October 2021, an interim rate of 12.5% will apply.  Business eligible to enjoy the reduced rate charged to their customers will not be required to return to the standard rate of 20% until April 2022.

 

Stamp duty holiday prolonged

 

The £500,000 stamp duty land tax threshold will end on 30th June, rather than the previously published expiry date of 31 March 2021.  From 1st July to 30th September, the nil tax threshold will be lowered to £250k.  It will only be from 1st October 2021 that the SDLT threshold will return to the pre-covid limit of £125,000.

 

Mortgage guarantee

 

The government affirmed its commitment to help the affordability of homes.  Lenders offering mortgage of 95% will obtain government guarantees for debt up to £600,000.

 

Capital allowance super-deduction introduced

 

The Chancellor set out his plan for an “Investment led recovery.”  By way of policy the most significant announcement was a “Super-deduction” from taxable profits for capital expenditure.

 

For the next two years, a business investing in qualifying plant and machinery, will be entitled to a capital allowance of 130%.

 

Capital gains tax regime largely untouched

 

The Budget was silent on capital gains, which should come as a considerable relief.  The business asset disposal relief has not been reformed.  Company owners seeking to extract accumulated profits as capital gains can still do so, subject to the Targeted Anti Avoidance Conditions.

 

Contactless payment limit to double

 

The threshold at which payment can be made by contactless card has been increased from £45 to £100.  The limit increase has been enabled by Britain’s exit from the EU.

 

Other Budget highlights

 

All alcohol duties frozen for second year in a row.

Planned rise in fuel duty is also scrapped.

Consultation opened on R&D tax relief and enterprise management incentive

VISA reforms to attract highly skilled workers.

 

Budget 2021 summary

 

The government’s plan to raise the billions needed to cover for the cost of Covid have been unveiled in today’s Budget.  Staggered increases are timed so as not to stall economic recovery.

VAT deferral due to covid

 

Written by Ray Coman

 

VAT deferral due to covidIn March 2020, the government announced a series of tax and cash saving measures in an attempt to soften the economic blow of covid.  This included a provision that payment of VAT usually due between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020 could be deferred until 31 December.  The deadline was subsequently extended to 31 March 2021.

 

Recap on opt deferral procedure

 

Many traders chose to pay VAT by direct debit, for its convenience and the comfort of knowing that a VAT payment will not be late.  A Vat deferral did not need to be applied for.  The deferral worked by the trader not paying VAT usually due during the deferral period. For those with a direct debit set up, it would therefore have been necessary to cancel the direct debit.  To ensure that any payments from July 2020 were collected the direct debit had to be reinstated.

 

HMRC systems were updated such that deferred VAT was not collected when the direct debit was subsequently set up again.  It would be imprudent to suppose that deferred VAT will be collected by direct debit in March 2021.  We therefore advise a payment is made before the deadline.  If there is no VAT to pay by the direct debit collection date, then nothing will be withdrawn by HMRC.

 

Further deferral

 

The Winter Economy Plan provided a further extension beyond 31 March 2021.  Traders who opt in, can settle deferred VAT in equal instalments.  No interest or late payment penalty will be charged for those who have opted in to the deferral program.  The trader can choose between 2 and 11 instalments.  The first instalment will be due 31 March 2021 and the final instalment has to be made by 31 March 2022.

 

To be eligible, the business must be up to date with VAT Returns and VAT payments, except for that normally due between 20 March and 30 June 2020.

 

It is a requirement to opt in before 31 March 2021 but the system has not yet been made available.  The VAT deferral payment scheme is due to be launched in 2021.

 

HMRC have stated to traders that if they can pay the deferred VAT that they should pay this by 31 March 2021.  The instalment arrangement is designed for businesses facing cash flow shortages resulting from lockdown.

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