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Business Tax Changes - Spring Budget 2024

There were limited changes to business taxation announced in the Spring 2024 budget. 

Capital allowances

The Full Expensing rules for companies allow a 100% write-off on qualifying expenditure on most plant and machinery (excluding cars) as long as it is unused and not second-hand. The rules were originally designed to be effective for expenditure incurred on or after 1 April 2023 but before 1 April 2026. Similar rules apply to integral features and long life assets at a rate of 50%. The government has announced that both allowances will now be made permanent.

The government is to publish draft legislation for consultation to help consider any potential extension to include plant and machinery for leasing.

The Annual Investment Allowance, which gives a 100% write-off on certain types of plant and machinery, remains at £1 million per 12-month period, and may be used for purchases that do not qualify for full expensing, such as purchases of second hand items.

Corporation tax rates

The government has confirmed that the rates of corporation tax will remain unchanged, which means that, from April 2024, the rate will stay at 25% for companies with profits over £250,000. The 19% small profits rate will be payable by companies with profits of £50,000 or less. Companies with profits between £50,001 and £250,000 will pay tax at a marginal tax rate of 26.5% .

Taxable benefits for company cars

The rates of tax for company cars remain frozen for 2024/25. Future car benefit rates have been announced for 2025/26 to 2027/28:

  • For 2025/26, the rates for emissions under 75gm/km increase by 1%.

  • For 2026/27, the rates for emissions under 75gm/km increase by a further 1%.

  • For 2027/28, the rates for emissions under 75gm/km increase by a further 1%.

The charge for electric cars will rise from 2% to 5% over that period.

For cars with emissions of 75gm/km and above, there will be a 1% rise in 2025/26 only, subject to a maximum of 37%.

From 6 April 2024 the figure used as the basis for calculating the benefit for employees who receive free private fuel from their employers for company cars remains £27,800.

Company vans

For 2024/25 the benefit remains £3,960 per van and the van fuel benefit charge where fuel is provided for private use remains £757. If a van cannot in any circumstances emit CO2 by being driven, the cash equivalent is nil.

Transfer of assets abroad - anti-avoidance legislation

The Transfer of Assets Abroad (ToAA) provisions will be amended so that UK resident individuals cannot bypass the legislation, by using a company to transfer assets offshore in order to avoid tax. Transfers of assets by certain companies will be considered a relevant transfer for the purposes of the legislation. The new measure will apply to income arising to persons abroad on or after 6 April 2024.

 

Creative Industries

The government has announced additional support for UK independent films already eligible for the Audio-Visual Expenditure Credit (AVEC). The AVEC is currently set as a basic credit of 34% of qualifying expenditure. Companies with qualifying UK independent films with a budget of £15 million or less will be able to claim a new UK Independent Film Tax Credit (IFTC) of 53%. Qualifying expenditure will be capped at 80% of the film’s total core expenditure. Qualifying films will need to commence principal photography on or after 1 April 2024 and claims can be made from 1 April 2025.

 
VAT

The VAT registration and deregistration thresholds will increase to £90,000 from 1 April 2024. The VAT deregistration threshold will increase to £88,000.

Research and Development relief

As announced in the Autumn Statement 2023, the existing Research and Development Expenditure Credit (RDEC) and SME schemes will be merged, with expenditure incurred in accounting periods beginning on or after 1 April 2024 being claimed in the merged scheme. The rate under the merged scheme will be set at the current RDEC rate of 20%.

The changes also provide additional relief for loss-making Research and Development (R&D) intensive SMEs through a higher rate of payable tax credit from April 2023, as a feature of the existing SME scheme. Those entitled to this higher rate would, from April 2024, continue to claim under rules similar to the current SME scheme rather than under the new RDEC scheme.

A number of other changes will apply to the new regime from April 2024, including that R&D claimants will no longer be able to nominate a third-party payee for R&D tax credit payments, subject to limited exceptions.

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