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How will Autumn Statement 2015 affect my business?

 

How will Autumn Statement 2015

 affect my business?

Over the past 12 months we’ve witnessed 3 major budget statements that have delivered a huge number of changes, including some fundamental overhauls of systems that have remained in place for decades.

After such a dramatic year, we were beginning to see such ambitious statements as the new normal.

So when Chancellor George Osborne came to deliver his final statement of 2015 it felt unusually light on headline-making announcements. There were no earth-shaking surprises akin to Autumn Statement 2014’s sweeping pension changes or the Summer Budget’s overhaul of dividend taxation.

However, this is not to say that Autumn Statement 2015 did not contain important information for businesses.

Here are 5 key business-related announcements that caught our eye:

 Apprenticeship levy

As part of its electoral promise to deliver another 3 million apprenticeships by 2020, the Chancellor announced a new apprenticeship levy during the 2015 Summer Budget. More details were revealed during Osborne’s final spending review of 2015:

·         businesses paying more than £3 million in wage bills will face the levy

·         the levy will amount to 0.5% of the business’s total wage bill

·         it will be introduced in April 2017.

Confederation of British Industry director-general Carolyn Fairbairn said the size of the levy was a “sting in the tail” for businesses but praised the decision to set up a levy board which she said would provide businesses with an input as to where the money is spent.

Business rates

Originally scheduled to stop in April 2016, the government will extend the doubling of the small business rate relief scheme until April 2017. The Chancellor said that this would ease the business rate burden for around 600,000 small and micro businesses. The Forum for Private Business welcomed the extension but warned that allowing local authorities to keep 100% of business rates would create resource imbalances between regions.

Online tax accounts

Further information was revealed about the government’s long-term drive to eliminate the paper tax return by migrating the entire process onto HMRC’s online services.

The Chancellor promised that all small and micro businesses will have access to online tax accounts from 2016/17. From 2020 most businesses will face new requirements that will include monitoring their tax situation online and sending quarterly information to HMRC via their online account.

Company cars

Businesses owning diesel company cars will continue to face higher tax bills as the Chancellor announced an extension to the 3% diesel fuel supplement until 2020/21.

Many expected the supplement to be removed next April so businesses using diesel company cars will need to alter their tax bill projections for the next few years.

Tax evasion

Osborne outlined new criminal and civil offences designed to crackdown on tax evasion and avoidance:

·         the most serious cases involving a failure to declare offshore income and gains will see the requirement to prove intent removed

·         offshore evaders will face increased civil penalties

·         people who assist others in evading taxes will face new civil penalties.

The government expects to take in an extra £5 billion a year by 2019/20 as a result of the measures.

For more on Autumn Statement 2015…

Our trusted advisors can help you understand what the Chancellor’s recent announcements will mean for your business in the years ahead.

Contact us on 01628 631 056 or email geoffk@knightandcompany.co.uk to find out how Autumn Statement 2015 will affect you.