Inevitably, with the widespread anxiety caused by the coronavirus dominating the news pages, today’s Budget focused on short and medium-term measures that will be welcomed by many whose concerns, naturally, are for their own and their relatives’ health.
The most important of these are: the extension of Statutory Sick Pay entitlement; Extended Time to Pay arrangements with HMRC; and supported loan funding for businesses.
Rishi Sunak’s first Budget contains the most extensive announcements of any for many years, so it will take a little while to work through everything and evaluate what it all means for our clients. However, for most individual taxpayers there is nothing of any great significance and, for those affected by the extension of IR35 from 6 April 2020, no change or back tracking.
A fuller summary will be available later in the week, but for tax professionals of long standing who remember this sort of thing happening in the past, there were two unwelcome changes announced to Capital Gains Tax Entrepreneurial Relief today. Firstly, there was the reduction in the lifetime gains, seeing these reduce from £10 million to £1 million, but, secondly, what makes this worse is that the reduction is taking effect immediately. In recent years, aside from specific anti-avoidance measures, these have usually taken effect from the following 6th April. Not so in this case and instead it is applicable for any disposal taking place today. The use of this relief was not anti-avoidance and therefore it is disappointing to see this type of cut-off being re-introduced. Hopefully it is not a harbinger of things to come under this new government. Consultation and notice regarding non-abusive tax changes would always be welcome.