This was a Budget with more giveaways than takeaways. It was aimed at younger voters, and included tax breaks for first-time buyers, but the chancellor also left wealthy voters relatively unscathed.The total net cost of his policy decisions for 2018/19 was a little over £6 billion with just £1.585 billion attributable to tax policy decisions.
The main tax changes announced were as follows:
- First time buyers (outside Scotland) will pay no stamp duty land tax on the first £300,000 of the purchase price for a home provided its value does not exceed £500,000. Gains on disposals of all UK property (including commercial property) will be subject to UK tax on gains by non-UK residents accruing from April 2019.
- The corporate indexation allowance will be frozen from January 2018, so that companies will no long benefit from relief for inflation after this date on their capital gains.
- The VAT registration threshold will be frozen at £85,000 for 2018/19 and 2019/20.
- Online marketplaces will become jointly and severally liable for the unpaid VAT of all UK traders, as well as overseas traders.
- Relief for venture capital trusts, enterprise investment schemes and seed enterprise investment schemes will be focused on companies where there is a real investment risk. A number of other provisions will tighten up the rules for these investments.
- The existing diesel supplement for diesel company cars will be increased from 3% to 4% from April 2018 for cars that do not meet the RDE2 emissions limits. The fuel benefit and van benefit charges will increase in line with RPI (and vehicle excise duty) from April 2018.
- There will be a number of changes to business rates, including: bringing forward to 2018 the switch in indexation from RPI to the generally lower CPI; retrospective legislation to deal with the impact of the so-called ‘staircase tax’ by recalculating valuations and qualification for small business relief to the position in the period before April 2010; increasing the frequency of revaluations to every three years after the next valuation due in 2022.
- The pension lifetime allowance will be increased from £1 million to £1.03 million from April 2018. There will be no change to the annual allowance.
- The ISA limit will be frozen at £20,000 and the LISA limit at £4,000, but the junior ISA and child trust funds will rise to £4,260 from April 2018.
- The income tax personal allowance will rise to £11,850 and the higher rate tax threshold for the UK (excluding non-savings, non-dividend income in Scotland) will rise to £46,350 for 2018/19.
- There will be a raft of provision against tax avoidance and evasion. The government will consult on further measures to tackle non-compliance with the intermediaries legislation (often known as IR35) in the private sector. A possible step will be to extend the recent public sector changes to the private sector.
- The government will also consult on reforming the taxation of trusts.