A Budget for Britain?

Comment from Lorraine Harnby, Tax Manager at Straughans Accountants, part of the Robson Laidler Group.

This was the last Budget before Brexit therefore it perhaps came as no surprise to see an emphasis to promote business and trading in the UK. This came in the way of an increase in the Annual Investment Allowance from it's current level of £200,000 to £1million for the next two years, which not only will come as a welcome tax relief for many businesses but also as a means to encourage spending.  Business Rates will be cut for qualifying businesses. And finally ePassport gates will be introduced at some London airports to allow more efficient entry of citizens from outside of the EEA such as the USA and Canada.

The personal allowance will increase to £12,500 and the higher rate band to £50,000 one year ahead of schedule and will take effect from April 2019.

A new Digital Services Tax will be introduced but this will only apply to large online companies such as the likes of Google and Amazon.

It would appear that the majority of revenues will be raised from tackling tax avoidance. There will also be restrictions to certain reliefs such as the availability of Entrepreneur's Relief, Research and Development Tax Credits and the Principle Private Residence Relief therefore it is more important than ever to take advice from your tax adviser before entering into transactions of this type. There will also be additional measures to tackle self-employed individuals working in the private sector.

The 'Northern Powerhouse' was mentioned again with investment of £337 million promised for the Tyne and Wear Metro, £123 million for the South Tees Development Corporation and a new devolution deal for the North.  There were also promises of increased funding to the NHS with particular reference to mental health, which will undoubtably come as welcome news to the region although some may say it is not enough.

In other news there will be plans to deal with plastic waste, fuel duty remains frozen for the eighth year in a row and the duty on beer, cider (expect white cider) and spirits is also frozen

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