In what was the first (and hopefully last) budget of 2023, there was a focus on growth being supported by the Chancellor’s four pillars – enterprise, employment, education and everywhere… not quite everything everywhere all at once, but there were some promises to review and reform the self-assessment for small businesses and sole traders which may help them believe that they are not in a parallel universe!
Although the Budget generally lacked content, there was a significant focus on business investment, with the announcement to full expending of certain capital expenditure for companies and extra benefits to some R&D intensive businesses. You can read our analysis of the key changes affecting businesses here.
There was even more focus on getting people into, or back into, work – key groups included parents (by extending the availability of free childcare provisions) and the over 50’s who have retired early to avoid adverse pension tax charges. The latter saw some significant changes to the taxation of pensions, with the lifetime allowance being abolished and an increase to the pension annual allowance. You can read our analysis of the key changes affecting individuals here.
Aside from that, it was all a bit quiet. There were some proposals around avoidance (including a new criminal offence for promoters of tax avoidance and the doubling of the maximum sentences for tax fraud) and administration (with us awaiting announcement of the ‘tax administration and maintenance day’ later this year, although what that brings, we don’t quite know).
The next event on the horizon is the draft Finance Bill, which is due to be released on 23 March 2023. This will legislate for the announcements from today as well as many from the fiscal statements back in 2022.
All in all, it looks like we will have to wait for a pre-election budget to offer up a bit more, although still probably not everything.
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