BUSINESS TAXES IN THE SPOTLIGHT: LATEST DEVELOPMENTS FROM THE UK BUDGETApr 04 2023
This article highlights recent developments in UK business taxes, including changes to National Insurance Contributions for the self-employed in 2023/24 and Making Tax Digital for Income Tax. It also covers tax relief for expenditure on plant and machinery, including the Annual Investment Allowance and the new ‘full expensing’ scheme, and the new process for reporting profits or losses to HMRC for unincorporated businesses with accounting year-ends other than 31 March or 5 April.
National Insurance Contributions (NIC) for the self-employed in 2023/24
Self-employed individuals are required to pay Class 2 and Class 4 NICs if their profits exceed £12,570. These NICs are usually collected with the individual’s income tax self-assessment payments.
For 2023/24, Class 2 NICs are calculated at £3.45 per week and Class 4 NICs are calculated at 9% on profits between £12,570 and £50,750, and at 2% on profits over £50,750.
Making Tax Digital (MTD) for Income Tax
Under MTD for Income Tax, businesses will keep digital records and send a quarterly summary of their business income and expenses to HMRC using MTD-compatible software. These requirements will not be phased in until April 2026, starting with sole traders and property landlords with gross income over £50,000. Other individuals subject to Income Tax will follow at a later stage.
Tax Relief for Expenditure on Plant and Machinery
The Annual Investment Allowance (AIA), giving 100% tax relief to unincorporated businesses and companies investing in qualifying plant and machinery, is now permanently set at £1million.
The super-deduction, which gives enhanced 130% relief for new qualifying plant and machinery acquired by companies, will end on 31 March 2023.
As a replacement for the super-deduction, ‘full expensing’ (effectively 100% tax relief, called a ‘First Year Allowance (FYA)’) will be available to companies incurring expenditure on new qualifying plant and machinery between 1 April 2023 and 31 March 2026. The qualifying criteria is quite broad although there are exclusions, including cars and features integral to a building (for example, heating systems). Regarding ‘integral features’, a smaller 50% FYA will be available. Subsequent disposals of assets on which one of these FYAs has been claimed will trigger a clawback of tax relief at a rate of 100% or 50% of the disposal proceeds, depending on the rate of the original relief. These new FYAs will mainly be of interest to companies that have already fully utilised their £1million AIA.
The separate 100% FYA for electric vehicle charge points remains available for unincorporated businesses and companies until Spring 2025.
Unincorporated Businesses and Accounting Year-Ends
Unincorporated businesses that prepare annual accounts to a date other than 31 March or 5 April will soon need to adopt a new process for how the profits or losses arising in those accounts are reported to HMRC.
At present, ‘basis period’ rules apply that broadly allow annual accounts that end in a tax year to act as the basis of profits or losses arising in that tax year.
This new system starts with transitional rules in the tax year ending on 5 April 2024 (2023/24). Going forwards, actual profits or losses arising in a tax year must be reported to HMRC, but this does not necessarily require a change in accounting year-end.
Unfortunately, this will make it harder for some self-employed individuals to predict their income tax liabilities, but we will be on hand to help you.