Experts at Taunton-based chartered accountancy Albert Goodman have given their reaction to the Autumn Statement:
Andrew Law, Senior Tax Manager, said: “It is a surprise the Chancellor intends to abolish Class 2 National Insurance, the flat rate contribution paid by the self-employed.
“This may have a significant impact for very small businesses below the small profits limit who currently choose to pay class 2 to protect state pension entitlement.
“We still need to look at the detail of the legislation to see exactly what is being proposed but it seems that they will now need to pay Class 3 National Insurance which is much more expensive. The last time the Government tried to do this it failed for this very reason, so we wait to see if they succeed this time.”
Steve Chamberlain, VAT Senior Manager, added: “VAT changes are relatively minor. Period pants will be added to items zero-rated under the women’s sanitary products relief- from 1 January 2024.
“The energy-saving materials relief – buildings used by a charity for non-business purposes can benefit from February – there is also a commitment to add to the list of qualifying materials – water source heat pumps were given as an example.
“A consultation is promised in 2024 on how to deal with the Uber case – whether Uber or the driver is responsible for VAT on the fares. The response to some robust lobbying for the reintroduction of VAT free shopping for overseas visitors is, in effect, “we’re still thinking about it.”
On Making Tax Digital (MTD), Tracey Watts, Tax Partner, said: “Some welcomed further relaxations on Making Tax Digital reporting, which is due to come in from April 2026 for businesses or landlords with income of more than £50K – each quarter’s submission will now be cumulative (so no need to amend prior periods) and three-line reporting only where income is less than the VAT registration threshold (£85K).
“There will no longer be an End of Period Submission (EPOS) needed either now, although a final declaration will still be needed (similar to current tax return). Joint property owners do not need to report their rental income in this way, which will help many couples, and some income may also be excluded such as for foster carers.
“Although these relaxations can only be welcomed, the lack of full income reporting does mean that the estimated tax calculations produced by HMRC will, in many cases, lack any meaning for certain taxpayers, which does bring into doubt some of the purported benefits of MTD. However, HMRC remain committed to bring this in, so we have take the relaxations where we can and remain committed to our clients in helping them with their new obligations”
On Research & Development (R&D): “Changes will be made to the R&D legislation to remove the restrictions imposed by subsided expenditure.
“In particular, this supports our long-held view that where a customer contracts for goods or services, such as the purchase of a new piece of equipment, if the provider chooses to embark on R&D to deliver the new equipment, it is that business that will be able to make the claim for R&D, not the customer, and nor will there be any restriction to the claim being made under the subsidy rules. This goes against HMRC’s position adopted over recent years and is a welcome clarification”.
“The merged R&D scheme will now be introduced for accounting periods beginning on or after 1 April 2024, rather than in respect of expenditure incurred on or after that date. Many businesses will need this extra time to try and understand the impact that the planned changes will have them.”
On Full expensing: “Although full expensing will be made permanent, with the aim of increasing company investment in new plant and machinery, only the larger companies will benefit as small and medium sized businesses are already able to claim relief for up to £1 million each year under the annual investment allowance. Cars and assets for leasing continue to be excluded from the measures, although the latter will be consulted on.”