Earlier this month, newly-appointed Chancellor Rishi Sunak delivered his inaugural Budget, amid the continued uncertainty over Brexit and growing concern over the coronavirus.

 

Sunak’s big spending plans – including £5.2 billion to be invested in flood defences and £27bn for road repairs –  made for the most generous Budget since 1992 – but what was in the small print?

 

Housing

We were already expecting a number of changes to the Capital Gains Tax (CGT) system from next month, including a cut in payment deadlines, giving landlords just 30 days to pay the CGT on additional property sales.

 

What this means is that, if you sell a house that is not your main residence, such as holiday home or a buy-to-let, you will have to send a return and make payment of the CGT liability within 30 days of sale.

 

Furthermore, lettings relief has been abolished unless you are living in the same house as your tenant. Previously, landlords selling a property that was their main residence were exempt from paying tax on the final 18 months that they owned the property. From April however, this window will be reduced to nine months.

 

However, there will still be 36 months of exemption for those who have had to move due to requiring care/disability reasons.

 

For housebuyers, the main headline is the introduction of a two per cent stamp duty surcharge for foreign purchasers of UK property.

 

Tax

Lifetime allowance for Entrepreneurs Relief has been reduced from £10m of qualifying gains to just £1 million, and this came into effect from March 11th.

 

Small firms had a promising Budget, with business rates to be abolished for firms in retail, leisure and hospitality that have an annual rateable value of less that £51,000. For public houses, the discount allowed rises from £1,000 to £5,000 on rates, while corporation tax rates have remained unchanged at 19 per cent.

 

Wages, salaries and pensions

 

The National Insurance threshold is rising to £9,500, which represents a saving of £86, benefiting 31 million taxpayers. However, anyone earning over the small earnings threshold of £6,136 will still get credits required towards the state pension. For those on the national living wage, this will increase to £8.72 for workers over the age of 25 with the aim to be £10.50 by 2024.

The threshold for tapering the annual tax relief allowance for higher earners has increased to £200,000 for threshold income, removing anyone earning under that amount from tapering altogether.

 

Tapering will now only begin if the “adjusted income“ is greater than £240,000, which is expected to remove 98 per cent of hospital consultants and 96 per cent of GPs out of tapering altogether.

 

However, the tapering allowance remains at £40,000, with a decreased minimum amount of £4,000 from the original £10,000 of the previous year.

 

Coronavirus measures

If an employee is advised to self-isolate, statutory sick pay will be payable. Should an employer have fewer than 250 staff, up to two weeks of statutory sick pay will be refundable.

 

The self-employed who are advised to stay at home will be entitled to Employment Support Allowance from day one of isolation.

 

Sunak also announced loans of up to £1.2m would be made available for small and medium-sized businesses, to support them through any disruption.