Nothing good for agriculture
Philip Hammond’s first full Budget had few surprises with some limited good news, but it is unlikely to bring much joy to farming and rural businesses. Most farmers, vineyards and wineries will be above the VAT limit so will not benefit from the twelve-month deferral of Making Tax Digital which is being offered to those with turnover below £85,000 or indeed the increase in the limit within which businesses can account on a “cash basis”. This has been increased from £85,000 to £150,000 – which may simplify matters for landlords.
The Chancellor also announced that all alcohol duty rates will rise in line with RPI inflation from 13 March 2017, affecting beer, cider, wine and spirits. Despite the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) and Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) all calling for cuts to duty on alcohol its disappointing to see the failure to support the further growth of a great British industry.
A few might benefit from the palliatives on business rates, but the reduction in the exempt amount of dividend income, which falls from £5,000 to £2,000 from April 2018, will hit the proprietors of many small companies. Those who are self-employed will see a 2% increase in Class 4 National insurance over the two years from April 2018.
As usual, there will be further announcements and consultations in the next few weeks, none of which are likely to bear good news: there will be a review of partnership taxation, and HMRC has already expressed concern about the tax treatment of employer provided accommodation, where a further announcement is expected. Certain employee expenses are also being looked at and we have now been promised an examination of rent a room relief. It seems unlikely that any of these reappraisals of existing legislation will to lead to a reduction in the burden.
For a full round up of the Spring Budget, read our Budget Summary Report.