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In what was one of the biggest tax cutting budgets in living memory, the aim of the ‘Mini-Budget’ was to stimulate the UK economy and encourage growth, whilst counteracting the ongoing impact of the cost of living crisis.
A number of the announcements were in line with promises made by Liz Truss’s successful Conservative party leadership campaign and were welcomed by many.
However, as a result of growing pressure from within the Conservative party and volatility of the financial markets, merely weeks from releasing the ‘Mini-Budget’, a number of U-turns have been announced. So where do things stand for companies?
Firstly, as of 6 November 2022, NICs for employers, employees and the self-employed will revert to their rates prior to the introduction of the temporary 1.25% increase. This is predicted to result in the average UK businesses saving £9,600 per year.
The Annual Investment Allowance (‘AIA’), which provides an incentive for businesses to invest in capital equipment by providing 100% tax relief on qualifying expenditure up to £1m per annum was due to return to £200k from 1 April 2023, however, the ‘Mini-Budget’ confirmed that the allowance will now be set at £1m permanently.
This should provide businesses with certainty on the reliefs available to them when considering investment in future capital equipment. In addition to the AIA, the additional temporary Super-Deduction in which tax relief of 130% on qualifying expenditure is also still available until 31 March 2023.
Perhaps the biggest announcement for businesses in the ‘Mini-Budget’ was the reversal of the planned increase in the corporation tax rate from 19% to 25% from 1 April 2023 meaning that the corporation tax rate would remain at 19% for all companies regardless of profit levels. This was particularly good news for companies within Northern Ireland as it would allow the corporation tax rate to remain competitive against that of the Republic of Ireland. HMRC estimated that the cancellation of the rate increase would save UK companies £18.7 billion per year by 2026/27.
However, this measure did not last, with the reversal of the decision to scrap the proposed rise in the corporation tax rate announced on 14th October. In short, the corporation tax rate will rise from 19% to 25% (dependent on profits) from 1 April 2023 as originally planned.
As a result, companies will need to give due consideration to increased corporation tax liabilities which may adversely affect cash flows. Consideration will also need to be given to other areas such as capital investment and the use of losses. For example, it may now be more beneficial to carry forward losses to offset against future taxable profits at the higher rate as opposed to carrying back for a corporation tax rebate at the lower rate of 19%.