The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, has delivered the Autumn Budget, and once you get over the eye-watering £3 billion set aside to help us prepare to leave the European Union the news for ordinary people and businesses is broadly positive.
No stamp duty land tax for first time buyers
There is a welcome boost for those looking to get on the property ladder, with the government confirming the immediate scrapping of stamp duty land tax for first time buyers purchasing a property worth up to £300,000. For those forced to buy in pricier areas, like London, a reduction in stamp duty land tax will be available to assist with the purchase of properties worth up to £500,000.
Council tax premium on empty properties
Property developers and investors will be affected by the announcement of a 100 per cent council tax premium to be levied on empty properties and the compulsory purchase of land which is banked for financial reasons. Further details are yet to be announced.
Changes to rises in business rates
Businesses hit hard by an increase in business rates following the rateable value revaluation process, which took place earlier this year, can take some comfort from the fact that, with effect from April 2018, rises in business rates will be linked to the Consumer Prices Index measure of inflation and not the Retail Prices Index. However, this is tempered by the fact that business revaluations will, from 2022, occur at three yearly rather than five yearly intervals. The £1,000 discount on business rates afforded to pubs with a rateable value of up to £100,000 will continue next year.
VAT threshold frozen
There is good news for small businesses, who will see the threshold at which they must register for VAT remain fixed at £85,000 for the next two years.
Increase in personal tax allowance and national living wage
From April 2018, the amount you can earn before beginning to pay tax has been increased to £11,850. The amount you can earn before having to pay the higher rate of income tax will also increase from April 2018 to £46,350. The chancellor also increased the national living wage rate to £7.83 an hour, again from April 2018.
Changes to Universal Credit
The government has bowed to pressure to alleviate some of the hardship being caused by the roll-out of the universal credit system. It has agreed to scrap the current seven-day waiting period for the processing of claims and to ensure the first months’ payment is received within five days of an application being made, with 12 months allowed for any necessary repayment. People who are currently in receipt of housing benefit will continue to receive this for two weeks after making a universal credit claim.
To view the budget in full, please click on the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/autumn-budget-2017-documents.
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