Autumn Statement  

Autumn Statement tax changes you may have missed

Autumn Statement tax changes you may have missed

Chancellor Philip Hammond pledged to let employees "take home more of what they earn" by making sure personal allowances are raised, while removing some perverse incentives on employee share schemes.

According to the Autumn Statement, income tax reliefs and capital gains tax exemption will no longer be available with effect from 1 December 2016 on any shares acquired in consideration of an employee shareholder agreement entered into on or after that date.

This will allow any individual who has received independent advice regarding entering into an employee shareholder agreement before the 23 November 2016 the opportunity to do so before 1 December (but not later).

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They can still receive the income and capital gains tax (CGT) advantages that were known to be available at the time the individual received the advice.

According to the Autumn Statement, the effective date will be 2 December, where independent legal advice is received on 23 November prior to 1.30pm.

There will also be two new income tax allowances of £1,000 each, for trading and property income.

As mentioned by former chancellor George Osborne, people who let out a room via sites such as AirB&B or renting out their driveway for less than £1000 a year, will no longer have to declare or pay tax on that income.

The trading income allowance will now also apply to certain miscellaneous income from providing assets or services.

Sue Moore, technical manager at the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales, said: "It basically decriminalises what some people have been doing anyway.

"People might not bother reporting they have rented out their driveway, for example, every time there has been a match at Twickenham, so this change saves on administration for everybody."

Moreover, social investment tax relief (SITR), which investors in community and other "socially responsible" investment bonds and similar schemes have been using, will be given a boost. 

From 6 April 2017, the amount of investment social enterprises aged up to seven years old can raise through SITR will increase to £1.5m. 

The government has also asked the Office of Tax Simplification to carry out reviews of the VAT system and stamp duty on share transactions.

However, there are now so many changes the lower end of the tax system is "bewildering", according to Tim Stovold, head of tax at Kingston Smith.

He said: "In recent Budgets the chancellor has added to the bewildering array of minor tax reliefs for individuals.

“The personal savings allowance, the dividend allowance, the property income allowance, the trading income allowance and the transferable personal allowance for married couples and civil partners, are a few among the many.

“The complexity of the tax system is becoming so mind boggling for individuals on comparatively low levels of income that very few of these reliefs are likely to be used. It is disappointing the chancellor has made no effort to simplify the tax system for the very lowest earners.”

A table of the most recent tax changes is outlined below: