Following the debacle of the March 2017 Budget and the shredding of election promises, in this historic first Autumn Budget, the Chancellor went out of his way to avoid any potential pitfalls. Indeed he may even have felt that it was bit of crowd pleaser with announcements, amongst other things, on more money for the NHS, tackling some of the perceived tax abuse by the multi-nationals, higher tax thresholds and help for first time buyers.
Whilst there was a recommendation from the Office of Tax Simplification that the VAT threshold should be lowered so that more businesses have to charge VAT the Chancellor neatly body swerved this potential bombshell subject by stating that the existing VAT registration is to remain at £85,000 for two year. He clearly thought the idea of 20% VAT being applied to many householders repairs bills was a risk not worth taking, even although it would have brought in a significant amount of extra tax.
The actual changes to the tax system are relatively few, with minimal taking effect overnight and more consultation promised. One matter that did catch our eye is that taxpayers will; from tomorrow, no longer be able to purchase a Certificate of Tax Deposit. These were very handy where taxpayers were in dispute with HMRC, as a tax certificate could be purchased which protected a taxpayer from interest and penalties on the disputed tax whilst negotiations took place with HMRC. Instead it looks like the only way to avoid the penalties and interest will be to pay HMRC upfront and hope to get it back later. This doesn’t leave the taxpayer in the strongest of bargaining positions!
As usual we will have a more detailed summary of the changes that are on their way to the tax system out to you by the end of the week but one thought to bear in mind is that many of the crowd pleasing measures announced today will not apply in Scotland! We will have to wait until next month to find what is lurking for Scottish taxpayers.