What Measures Could Businesses Expect to See in the Autumn Budget?

This year’s autumn budget will be delivered by the UK government at the end of October, a week after the Brexit summit in Brussels, and before another key Brussels Brexit summit in mid-November.

With Brexit tensions high, many are waiting with anticipation to see what the government has on the cards for the upcoming months. As well as ordinary voters, business leaders are paying particular attention, especially when they have plans to expand their business overseas. Chancellor Phillip Hammond has given away a few hints over the past months since the Spring budget, so here is Galvin International’s round up of some of the most common predictions for the Autumn Budget.

Among the forecasts is an end to the eight-year freeze on fuel duty, which, to keep in place, would cost up to £38m over the next three years, and which the chancellor explained is “twice as much as we spend on all NHS nurses and doctors each year”. It will be controversial among the Tory party, who see it as a fundamentally Tory policy – but it would help ease Hammond’s fiscal pressures.

Hammond, it has been predicted, will also turn to tax hikes in order to pay for the government’s promise to pump an extra £20bn into the NHS by 2023 – however, it remains unclear which taxes he will increase. There are some hopes that he won’t need to increase any taxes at all, since the government announced its biggest surplus in July this year for the past 18 years. Either way – how NHS funding will be found will be the main event to this year’s autumn budget.

Significantly for international businesses, it is predicted that Hammond will introduce a digital services tax, otherwise known as the ‘Amazon tax,’ which he says is the best way to tax international companies and level the playing field between internet and traditional high-street retailers who pay business rates, and which has received mixed reactions from experts.

It has also been predicted that the budget may contain measures to restrict business property relief, which can provide exemption from inheritance tax, to those who are more closely involved with business, and tighten the assets test of the similar agricultural property relief.

The Budget may also include measures aimed at restricting entrepreneurs’ relief from capital gains tax. Under current policy, a person who sells part or all of their business is entitled to a lifetime relief on qualifying gains of up to £10m, and these gains are taxed at just 10%. It has long been accused of being too generous.

Hammond may also give some indication of the future of UK corporation tax rates, which are generating record low receipts and, some argue, stimulating profits for low-value employment that isn’t in the UK’s long-term interests.

If you’re looking at expanding your business and want to know how ongoing fiscal measures and policies could impact your plans for an international business, contact us for expert advice and support.

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