Wednesday 25th November saw George Osborne deliver what was effectively his third budget speech of the year, the Autumn Statement 2015.
Unlike Autumn statements of recent years there was little of significance in tax terms that had not already been announced in the emergency budget in July. A large part of the reason for this was the effective windfall received by the Chancellor from movement in government forecasts in relation to tax receipts and interest costs, meaning that he was not under the same pressure to raise tax revenues as he may otherwise have been.
The most surprising announcement, and perhaps the most welcome, was the Chancellors complete U-turn on the planned cuts for existing tax credits claimants. Whilst welcome, this about turn has to be understood in conjunction with the fact that within the next 12 to 24 months tax credits are expected to be scrapped altogether when Universal Credit is finally rolled out nationwide so the pain has been delayed rather than scrapped altogether.
Housebuilding and property was another hot topic for the Chancellor and there was a 3% increase in the stamp duty land tax rates payable south of the border by landlords/those purchasing second homes. On a related issue, capital gains tax liabilities arising on the sale of residential property will become payable within 30 days of sale from 2019.
Other measures covered include:
• changes to the prospective Tax-Free Childcare scheme
• retaining the 3% diesel supplement for company cars which was to be abolished
• the introduction of an apprenticeship levy for larger employers
• proposals to restrict tax relief for travel and subsistence expenses for workers engaged through employment intermediaries
As always we’ve put together a short summary of what was covered in his speech and where relevant covering off what we already know about the shape of the tax system over the coming year or two.