We were expecting a budget for housing and Philip Hammond’s announcement of 300,000 new homes a year has been backed up with a package of measures including the promise of billions more on infrastructure spending, planning reforms and help for first time buyers. The increase in the Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) nil rate threshold for first time buyers was a particular highlight and will mean no SDLT on the first £300,000 for properties valued at up to £500,000.
Other tax measures included adjustments to the SDLT higher rates legislation to remove certain anomalies which were unfairly bringing a lot of people within the higher rate; the removal of indexation allowance for capital gains within companies and capital gains tax on non-resident investors will be extended to include commercial property.
The Chancellor restated the government’s commitment to a low-tax economy and unusually for any budget there were no tax increasing measures announced. We were also given a welcome promise of less frequent tax changes and more consultations in advance of any changes.
We generally expect a list of new anti-avoidance measures and this budget didn’t disappoint. Further measures were introduced to tackle perceived abuse of the tax system in connection with the National Insurance employers allowance, disguised remuneration, profit fragmentation and double taxation relief to name a few. Consultations were promised on extending the “off-payroll working rules” introduced for the public sector last year to the private sector; the taxation of trusts and the use of rent-a-room relief.
Overall whilst there were not a lot of headline grabbing measures this time around, there were many less obvious changes announced in the budget publications and I think it will be sometime yet before we understand fully the impact of this budget.
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