News: Budget 2020

Posted on 12th March 2020

This update on the budget on 11th March is provided courtesy of MHA Carpenter Box and is their briefing for SMEs.

The new Chancellor Rishi Sunak delivered his first Budget in the House of Commons on Wednesday 11thMarch.

There were a number of measures designed to provide financial assistance to businesses and deal with the effects of Coronavirus as well as announcements about significant investments in infrastructure projects.

The financial assistance included the following measures:

  • Statutory sick pay will be available to all those advised to self-isolate from the virus. The government will refund the cost of statutory sick pay for up to 14 days for businesses with fewer than 250 employees.
  • A new temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (delivered by the British Business Bank) will support businesses to access bank lending and overdrafts.  The government will guarantee 80% on each loan.  The government will not charge businesses or banks for this guarantee and the scheme will support loans of up to £1.2 million.
  • The Business Rates retail discount will be increased from 50% to 100% in 2020-21 and the relief will also be expanded to the leisure and hospitality sectors (he also announced the launch of a fundamental review of business rates due to report in the autumn).
  • A cash grant of £3,000 to businesses currently eligible for Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR) or Rural Rate Relief.
  • All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service. These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities. These businesses can contact HMRC’s new dedicated COVID-19 helpline from 11 March 2020 for advice and support.

The notable tax changes for small businesses included the following:

  • The NIC threshold will rise from £8,632 to £9,500.
  • Increasing the NICs Employment Allowance from £3,000 to £4,000.
  • The introduction of the PAYE cap on the payable R&D tax credit for SME will be delayed until 1 April 2021.
  • The Entrepreneurs’ Relief (ER) lifetime allowance will be reduced from £10m to £1m (ER is the 10% rate of capital gains tax available when you sell a business).
  • Abolishing VAT on digital publications from 1 December 2020 (to apply to all books, magazines and publications).

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