Business

Highlighting corporation tax, capital allowances, SEIS, CSOP and Investment Zones.

Corporation tax rates

It had been previously announced that the rate of corporation tax would increase for many companies from April 2023 to 25%. This change will now not go ahead, leaving the rate of corporation tax at 19% for the majority of companies.

Comment

The 19% UK corporation tax rate is significantly lower than the rest of the G7 and the lowest in the G20.

In line with this change, the Bank Corporation Tax Surcharge will remain the same, as will the Diverted Profits Tax.

Capital allowances

The Annual Investment Allowance (AIA) gives a 100% write-off on certain types of plant and machinery, including cars with zero emissions, up to certain financial limits per 12-month period. The limit has been £1 million for some time but was scheduled to reduce to £200,000 from April 2023. The government has announced that the temporary £1 million level of the AIA will become permanent and the proposed reduction will not occur.

Up to 31 March 2023, companies investing in qualifying new plant and machinery are able to benefit from capital allowances, generally referred to as 'super-deductions'. These reliefs are not available for unincorporated businesses. Interestingly, these allowances were not mentioned, other than minor amendments to the current rules, so it appears the scheduled withdrawal of them will occur in 2023.

Comment

Businesses incurring expenditure on plant and machinery should carefully consider the timing of their acquisitions to optimise their cashflow.

Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme

From April 2023, companies will be able to raise up to £250,000 of Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) investment, a two-thirds increase. To enable more companies to use SEIS, the gross asset limit will be increased to £350,000 and the age limit from two to three years. To support these increases, the annual investor limit will be doubled to £200,000.

Company Share Option Plan

From April 2023, qualifying companies will be able to issue up to £60,000 of Company Share Option Plan (CSOP) options to employees, twice the current £30,000 limit. The 'worth having' restriction on share classes within CSOP will be eased, better aligning the scheme rules with the rules in the Enterprise Management Incentive scheme and widening access to CSOP for growth companies.

Investment Zones aim to encourage rapid development

As part of the government's plan to drive economic growth and encourage development the Chancellor confirmed that Investment Zones will be established across the UK.

These zones will benefit from lower taxes and liberalised planning frameworks to encourage business investment.

The government is already in discussions with 38 local authorities to establish investment zones in England. In addition, it says it will work closely with the devolved administrations to offer the same opportunities in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Businesses in designated areas in investment zones will benefit from 100% business rates relief on newly occupied and expanded premises.

In addition, businesses will receive full Stamp Duty Land Tax relief on land bought for commercial or residential development and a zero rate for employer NICs on new employee earnings up to £50,270 per year.

There will also be a 100% first year enhanced capital allowance relief for plant and machinery used within designated sites and accelerated Enhanced Structures and Buildings Allowance relief of 20% per year.

As well as time-limited tax benefits there will be designated development sites that will release more land for housing and commercial development in the zones. The need for planning applications will be minimised and streamlined.